"At times I think my coffee and tea addictions truly drive my artistic energy. It’s a small sacrifice for the greater good."

Preview: Human Invasion - A Novel

Posted: 12/16/09 | Written by Jeannie | Labels: , , , ,

Human Invasion has been in revision for almost a full year. However, as the revisions close and the novel starts to become more of a realization. It’s time for it to see some light. So this is just a glimpse at my hard work from the last year. Enjoy!

©Jeannie Hart 2008

Economic Crash of 2008
Fallout from the stock market crash was far worse than anyone anticipated. The housing market slowly pushed to a rupture point, which there was no return. The Nation, the great United States of America, thought that greed coupled with an apparent abundance of the American Dream could allow for a bigger and better slice to be taken from the people. Each piece carved out from this diminishing pie cracked the foundation – those whom strived to keep up with the everyday – to the brink. Until finally it was impossible to ignore the realization; the United States as everyone knew, loved, and remembered was about to change for the worse. The table many leaned so heavily on was breaking.

The Nation’s Quiet Fall
The market continued to plummet. A gain here, losses there, but the market kept falling. Newscasters claimed stock markets go through ‘these sort of cycles.’ Blank, rehearsed stares as they talk to the camera. Crack. The President stepped forth - a calm voice amidst the storm - assuring the nervous population that this recession would go no further. Crack. The recession spiraled downward, each crack becoming wider, deeper and more unstable. But it was only after the President’s 3rd inauguration, did the people realize how far they had fallen. Somewhere the power of democracy vanished. They did not view the bailouts for what they were – a ploy to beg, buy and borrow confidence. Democracy died to the sound of an increasingly desperate chant, ‘yes we can.’ Crack.

Universal Healthcare
It took several years for people to understand how universal health care crippled the nation. Though, there were those who saw it coming. They tried their best to warn the nation about the unknown effects of daily mandatory ‘vitamins’ – what were these vitamins for - they questioned.

The President stood, gathered around by bright-eyed, naive young adults with hope and change dangling off their lips. All eyes upon him: as he danced around the Town Hall. He explained in a calm, soothing voice that was almost hypnotic. “If we,” he paused as he walked around the room. “If we are healthier, if we exercise the way we should, if we eat right and get the appropriate vitamins, universal healthcare is not only a benefit to us as a nation – it is a benefit to the future of our nation. Our children and their children's children will reclaim this country through the science of preventative medicine.” Smiling, he held up a simple oval pill; a ready-made image for a glossy print advertisement.”

There were always protesters on street corners when these meetings were held, not many, but enough to grab the passerby’s attention. Signs, which read, ‘Universal Health Care is Death,’ or ‘Drugs – What affect?’ However, there were no horn honks, just dirty looks from drivers as they pretended to look the other way. People wanted to be healthier. They couldn’t be richer, at least in days like this, so a compromise was struck: their health guaranteed. They wanted that miracle pill which would increase their lifespan; making them happier, and hopefully better. That, unfortunately, was not what they received.

T7 was the artificial protein, which bonded the mandatory vitamin components together. It was brand new, created by the MBI Corporation. Put into production with limited but successful testing. Three years later, a daily dose of T7 was found to cause stillbirths, miscarriages, and abnormal growths resulting in the vast majority becoming sterile.

The people were outraged.

The nation unwittingly played into the President’s hand – handing more power to him, as they’d now lost wealth and health. He was the only one who could right the wrongs of the MBI Corporation. Focus could no longer be shifted away from the fractured and failing foundation. The people had to be appeased; a nation had to be renewed. The announcement was quick and concise. No pomp and circumstance as genocide took place.

“Change is in the air.” He said with a solemn tone as the address was televised nationally. “The only way we can move forward – to address these challenging times is to focus on our foundation, you – the people. Starting tomorrow we are withdrawing all troops from abroad, saving billions in operating costs and bringing our nation’s greatest resources back to us. Yes, we are bringing our troops home.” The President walked off stage and returned behind his curtain. Minions scurried about making preparations for the public relations blitz surrounding the pomp and circumstance of bringing home so many men and women from abroad. Appearances would be deceiving. These heroes were coming home for only one purpose, to help clean the nation and save it from us.

Ripple Effects
Meanwhile, people did everything they could to keep up the appearance of a good, solid, quality lifestyle. Though, in the light of the fallen stock market, a devalued dollar worth less than the paper it was printed on, a housing market that burst, and a misbegotten implementation of universal health care, hope became just another four-letter word. Some struggled to keep just above the rising tide of desperation; they did not want to see the nation fail. They continued soldiering on as the tide kept rising. The President’s word that things would be okay, that hope – always dangled in front of a populace hungry for the promise of a better day - kept them paddling, seeing refuge just on the horizon. However, one by one people started to sink beneath the dark waters. Their strength alone could only keep them buoyant for so long. So many mass layoffs overtook businesses that entire towns and cities became vacant, ghost towns of suburbia. Families started to migrate into fast-growing shantytowns that popped up seemingly overnight. These were homes to those out of money and out of hope. People watched from the squalor that smelt of despair, disease, and desperation as the President spouted ‘how much they’ve accomplished, although the road ahead was still difficult.’ Yet, people in these makeshift towns all wondered how much more they could endure. Universal health care rendered them sterile from drugs or reproductively challenged through government-manufactured hybrid food – genetically altered to increase yield and have a longer shelf life. It seemed a small price to pay for a cheaper costing food which was not naturally grown, but kept the population fed.

Yet, as terrible as things were, the tide was about to rise, so fast, so overwhelmingly, that those who were already struggling were certainly going to drown. The government, the savior of the people was going to balance an unfavorable and embarrassing balance sheet.

The troops came home. There was fanfare, streamers, and bunting. They came off planes, off ships, and out of trucks, and marched through towns – never stopping – waving enthusiastically at the crowds. The fanfare stopped. The parade route finished. The soldiers moved on. Into planes, boats and trucks, from one war to another, from democracy to marshal law overnight.

Communities teeming with life, brought together by the plight of humanity suddenly woke to notices of official condemnation. Leave or be forcibly removed, was the warning posted. A warning to all, that these places of refuge would be destroyed for the betterment of the country. Some fled, though most stayed. A residual sentiment of a bygone era, most people still clung to the belief that the government would never go so far.

They were wrong.

The truth revealed itself in a form as vicious as it was unexpected. It happened in waves. A shantytown surrounded by troops advising people to stay indoors. Those who were on the streets would be shot – no questions asked. Families huddled inside. Gunfire could be heard in the distance. At first it seemed random. An odd pop here and there, but the rate grew more consistent, more rapid and repetitive. Soldiers rushed in, opened each door looking around the room or rooms, gathered the huddled, scared families into a main area and opened fire on the wide-eyed humanity who had nothing more in common than a desire to live. The soldiers around the perimeter laughed and high-fived each other as they heard the screams mix with gunfire. These soldiers did not care who they were killing, just that the job was getting done – and seemed to be enjoying themselves in the execution of their task. As the gunfire turned into a steady stream of popping the people started to understand what was happening. They started to flee, or at least they tried. Squads of troops walked the streets and shot anyone who ran. They kept score with each other as if they were playing some sick twisted game. “42!” One officer yelled to his subordinate who immediately laughed for the accomplished. These soldiers killed with methodical precision. The officer raised his gun and started firing in the air. Others under his command did also, signaling the end of this stage of the operation. Troops around the edges of town stopped their chatter; the next wave was about to begin.

In every shantytown they moved through, the troops all stopped at the same point. 2/3rds of the way in they would pause, they enjoyed pausing. It was a simple pleasure to watch the people peep outside their doors, become afraid and then try to run for their lives. Townspeople who ran towards the soldiers received one bullet to the head; they were the lucky ones. Those who watched -- watched in horror as they were herded deeper into town. Herded by soldiers marching forward shooting their guns in the air randomly shooting at the crowd when they started to slow. It was like a massive feed ball in the middle of the ocean being circled by dolphins. Forcing the fish to become tighter and tighter as they nipped a bite here and there. Hundreds of townspeople pushed together, frightened, praying, and being trampled. Gunfire ceased, the troops smiled, and the ground started to shake.

Helicopters filled the air. Time stood still for the people. When it resumed it resumed with an agonizing slowness that made many loose complete control. Flames shot down like a meteor shower, rows of death that mowed anything that moved. Almost all humanity removed as little cameras controlled these bringers of death, stats on a screen miles away proving that this was only a little more than a game to someone. Those that survived the rain of fire did not survive for long, the ground troops made sure of that. As the day started drawing to a close, the troops started to retreat. Their job was done. The clean up crew was next.

Men in heat resistant suits walked through the town with flamethrowers, burning everything that was dead or dying. Homes, flimsy and failing were awash in flames licking their innards. Behind the flamethrowers were firemen who doused the fires with a ‘cleansing’ bath of water; cooling it down just enough so the bulldozers could carry out their task without being slowed down or damaged. A faint cry from a surviving baby echoed eerily through the winds of the town’s silenced streets, but not for long – as the bulldozers moved in to level everything, debris, mangled bodies, and those unlucky enough to still be breathing. Before the sun set, the once vibrant, but struggling shantytown was a mere bump on a charred, plowed-over landscape. The troops had moved on to the next town. Over and over, across every corner of the United States, this extermination-and-erasure process repeated.

The only people whom survived were those whom left as soon as the condemnation was posted. Those people had instincts about their peril. They spread the word, as the skies grew darker. This was the only forewarning, as those in the shantytowns did not have the luxury of cell phones or Internet access. All they could rely on was the face-to-face communication received from those whom witnessed the beginning, never the aftermath.

Life inside the nation was no longer the glistening, bright beacon of the world. It was now gangrene infested, imploding, and devoid of the hope so generously promised in years past.

Months turned to years as people finally started to adjust to the new realities. The burnt landscape reminded them everyday – if you did not fit in, if you did not comply, you will be swept away. Cars, trucks, buildings, or people, it didn’t matter. Vast swaths of land outside the well-controlled major metropolitan cities were charred and left in the open. A visible expression of what happens to those who voice discontent.