Earthbound: 2222 A.D.
This is the third group collaboration I have taken part in. First and foremost, I want to extend my thanks for the following writers who have put in their time and I daresay, fantastic effort with this novella. Without them, of course, there would be no story to put here, and obviously, I wouldn’t be writing all this.
Not counting myself, you will find their names at the end of each chapter.
If you like zombie or undead stories, then this is right up your alley. So, kick back, relax and enjoy.
This is where I would say turn the page and start reading, but instead, scroll down.
"Command Center? This is Captain Clint Raymond. The crew is set in their pods for our return to earth and once our communication is completed, I will enter my pod. All geo-computer systems are supporting full functionality and are programmed to open the pods once we enter earth's atmosphere. We will then dock at the Space Station to refuel one final time and will make contact from there.
“Meantime, all 243 samples are stored and accounted for from Mars and Neptune. The scientists will have a field day with all this stuff.”
"Star Ride 12, sounds like a go then. Contact us the minute you enter the Space Station, and then our air space. We will begin preparations to extract you from your landing base.”
“Phil? How’s the weather back there? Please let my wife and kids know I should be back there within four years. The crew also asked me if you would inform their families as well.”
“Clint, weather here is cold as ice. Winter’s here since your take-off has been brutal. With any luck on your end, you might get back here sometime in the spring or mid-summer. But, will do. One we end transmission; I will start making calls.”
“Roger that. It is going to feel good to be back on earth.”
“Clint, there have been some changes since you have been gone. First, once you are extracted, you will be held in solitaire for thirty days for medical evaluations. We have been hit with a severe pandemic while you were away. Not just here either. It’s global. Well over four-billion lives have been lost to what they are now calling, To Telos. It’s Greek for the end.
“But your family is fine, just as the crew's families are as well. They have all been inoculated, so not to worry there. You guys may not even recognize them as they have grown in the last couple of years you have been away.”
“I had thought about that myself, but the other stuff sounds bad.”
“It is, but that is only half the problem now.”
“Okay, I’ll bite. What’s the other half?”
“This Covid strain is changing people.”
“Did you ever watch zombie movies?”
“I’ve seen a few, why?”
“That’s what some people are becoming. Right now, we have things under control with the military being involved, but it’s as if each day that passes, they kill fifty and another hundred are spawned.”
“If it were anyone but you telling me this I would laugh, but I’m not laughing. Phil. I need to end this transmission as we are approaching Vectore-2273, and if I don’t get in my pod soon, the velocity of speed Star Ride will maximize to will crush me like crazy.”
“Roger that, Clint. We’ll talk more after you have returned. Make your crew aware of the situation here so there are no surprises.”
“Will do. This is Star Ride 12, signing off.”
Clint flipped the switch off, removed his headphones and headed for his pod. He couldn’t help but smile at the thought of people becoming zombies but at the same time, the picture of his wife Carla, and his two boys, Andy, and Zach, being eaten alive was nothing to smile about.
Reaching his pod, he slipped inside, and gave out his last command for the moment.
“Anita, open my pod once we reach the outer perimeter of the Space Station.”
“Certainly, Captain Raymond. Arrival time will be four years, two months, three weeks, thirteen hours, fourteen minutes, eleven seconds.”
As the cover descended over Clint, he smiled. Anita is such a punctual computer.
On Earth, September 17, 2218, large masses of undead were scouring the cities and countryside intent on one thing: devouring anything that moved.
Military units and the National Guard were deployed in various sectors, but the obvious was soon to become not so obvious. It was getting where there were more undead than ever before. The military in most citywide areas were overrun and they either retreated or were eaten. Members of the National Guard, many of whom were young, bolted in terror when they would see hundreds of lifeless eyes approaching them, and when they, like the military, fired on them, they kept coming, not caring who fell or where. By the end of the year, cities such as Los Angles, San Francisco, Detroit, Dallas, New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia would be lifeless. Washington D.C., had already made plans for evacuation, getting the president, vice-president, members of Congress and other federal staff workers to safe houses below ground until things were firmly back in control. The only problem with that; no one had an idea when control would be back.
The United States wasn’t the only situation though. All throughout Europe, Asia, South America, Australia and Africa, human remains could be found wasting away rotting under extremely hot temperatures.
As one person put it, “In the movies, you could shoot them in the head, and they would fall down and die. Not so much now. Shoot’em in the head and they just get up and keep coming. That’s not how the script was written.”
The door unlocked and Clint was awakened by a familiar voice.
“Captain Raymond, it is now March 16, 2222, and we are forty-five minutes away from docking with the International Space Station. Would you like me to awaken the rest of the crew?”
Sitting up, blinking away the sleep from his eyes, “Yes, Anita, and tell them to meet me in the command room.”
Stretching, he then swung his legs to the side and stood, slowly making his way to the command center. His first thoughts as he made his way there were the last words he heard from Phil. This would be the first thing he would talk to the crew about.
Five, good, smart people, each with a unique specialty in the sciences, but neither he nor them would have any clue how to combat what is happening on earth.
Dale Caruthers is the onboard mechanic and all-around Mr. Fix it, inside or outside the ship. Strapping man, nearing forty, played college football at Ohio State as a tackle and still in good enough shape that he could knock you down in a heartbeat and never break a sweat.
Jules Verone, a mild person with a penchant for archeology. Short, a bit on the heavy side, but rarely speaks unless spoken to, or has an interesting find.
Brad Marconi, navigator, and this is his eighth trip into space but the first, like Clint and the others, to have gone as far as they have. As Brad put it, “Virgin territory.” This is also Brad’s last sojourn as he plans to retire from NASA when he returns home. That is, if there still is a NASA.
Margo Jessup. Teacher, archeologist, recorder. Divorced, late thirties, and at one time for a few years a professional wrestler if you can believe that one since she’s barely 5’4” and a hundred twenty on a rainy day. Jet black hair and deep-set eyes though give her the appearance she could put you down easy enough—man or woman.
No one on the team had recent military experience and when he explained what was going on with earth; he knew there wasn’t much if anything they could do to avert the situation.
Arriving at the command center, he took his seat, placed the headphones over his ears and radioed a signal message for pick up from the Space Station. Since the radio frequency bounces down to earth and back to the Space Station, any of the four men currently stationed there, can pick up a message through a ham radio. From the corner of his eye, he could see the crew entering as each took their seats.
“I repeat, ISS. This is Star Ride, and we are approaching the docking area for refueling. Do you copy.”
All he could hear was nothing but static coming back.
“Is anyone there? Come in. We are awaiting clearance to dock.”
“Ye-yes, I am here. I will program Robonaut-17 to prepare docking for you but …”
The pause had Clint worried.
“There are only two of us still alive here. The others have died from malnutrition, and I can’t tell you how much longer we may be alive as we have eaten the last of the rations, I think, four days ago. The last supply ship left here eighteen months ago and hasn’t returned.”
Clint knew something was seriously wrong. Supply ships come out to the station every six months with food and new crews. It made him wonder why Brad never said anything.
“Who am I speaking with?”
“Darryl Addams. The other person with me is Elana Mycrovitch.”
“When did you last hear from Nasa?”
“A long time. Not since the last supply ship left here.”
“Then Darryl, get the dock ready. We have an ample supply of food and water. Hang in there. We should be there within minutes.”
After signing off he turned to his crew.
“I have some not so good news to tell all of you.”
Written By: Danceinsilence
Sir Riley headed towards a deserted castle deep in the forest. There he waited, for he had sent a note to the villain and they were to meet there.
At noon, he heard a noise. Into the clearing stepped the man that had attempted to murder the princess.
“Hello.” Said Sir Riley.
“Hello, so you found me out.” Said the man.
The man was…Prince Leos!
“I did not expect you to figure it out so quickly. Though, I knew you would some time.”
“I’m flattered. Tell me prince, why did you try to kill her? You were to have married her.”
The prince laughed bitterly. “Yes, I was going to marry her. But I saw that she loved you, and I could never win her heart.
“The reason I attempted to kill her, I wished to hurt her father, the king.”
“but why did you wish to hurt him?”
“So, you didn’t figure that out? Why don’t you guess?”
“Very well, prince. Is it because he killed your father in battle?”
Prince Leos’ eyes blazed, “So, you know that too! Yes, he murdered my father. I know it was in fair fight, but he should not have done so!”
“He did not know it was your father at the time.”
“So? He killed him anyway. When my father was alive, I had a chance to get the throne. I was my father’s favorite son. But he died and left no will. So, my elder brother has the throne. I hate King Ronald!” Prince Leos exclaimed angrily, “And I hate you, too! You ruined my plans!”
“But it is not because of me that you failed in murdering the princess.”
“I don’t care! I’m going to kill you!”
With that, Prince Leos whipped out his sword, and leapt at Sir Riley.
But Sir Riley had already gotten out his sword and blocked the blow.
Then, began the most stunning and skillful duel ever. Prince Leos sought to destroy the man whom, he considered, to have ruined his plans for revenge. Again, and again he stabbed his sword at Sir Riley, but the young knight’s sword always met each onslaught. Finally, seeing his chance, Sir Riley ran his antagonist through the shoulder. The prince dropped his sword and gripped his shoulder. His face was white with fury.
“Now, prince, you can do something for me. Sign this confession.” Said Sir Riley, panting.
“Never!” screamed Prince Leos, in rage.
Sir Riley placed the point of his sword against the prince’s throat.
“Sign it and I shall not kill you as you so richly deserve.”
Sir Riley put more pressure on his sword. Prince Leos went pale. Then he said, ’Very well, if you will let me go free.”
’All right, but I warn you, if I ever see your face again, I shall kill you.”
The prince grasped the pen and paper and quickly signed it.
“Like all murderers you are a coward.” Said Sir Riley, as he took the paper.
Prince Leos glared furiously and would have leapt at Sir Riley, but Sir Riley pressed on his sword.
’Now, get up and ride. Before I kill you.”
The prince mounted his horse and disappeared. Sir Riley gazed after him thoughtfully. Then he carefully folded the paper and placed it in is pocket. He wiped the blood of his sword and then, mounting his horse, he rode away.
* * * * *
“I cannot and will not believe it!” exclaimed King Ronald, “Prince Leos is a perfectly good man, why would he want to murder my daughter?”
“Sir Riley explained it all to me after he had seen the note written by him. He hates you because you killed his father. He might have gotten the throne, but since there was no will, his elder brother has it.”
“Yes, yes. That is all true. But how are you going to prove it?”
“Sir Riley was going to meet the prince and have him sign a confession.”
“Why,” exclaimed the king, “Sir Riley will be killed!”
“I hope not.”
Just then a page stepped in. “Sir Riley.” He announced.
In came the young knight.
“Sir Riley, you made it!” exclaimed Sir Anthony in relief.
Sir Riley handed the confession to the king.
“Prince Leos signed this.” He told the king.
The King quickly read it. He looked up.
’Sir Riley, would you please tell me how this came about?”
“Yes, your majesty, as soon as you release Purvis and John.”
King Ronald gave orders to release the prisoners immediately.
Then he turned back to Sir Riley.
“Now, tell me your story.”
Sir Riley did so. When he finished, King Ronald sighed.
“I am afraid that I have made a mistake. I am very sorry. But, who gave you the cloak, sleeping powder and sword?”
Sir Riley smiled. He reached out and put his hand on Keven’s shoulder.
“Yes. He came to my cell and asked what he could do to help. I told him what I needed. He did a good job.”
“Sir Riley, with what do you want me to award you with? I will grant you anything.”
“I want one thing, the hand of your daughter.”
“You want Jewel?”
“Yes, I love her.”
“Very well, if she loves you also, which she has told me she does, you may have her. This matter, dreadful as it has been, has done one good thing. It has freed me of my promise.”
Just then Doctor Harrison stepped in.
“The Princess is asking for you, Sir Riley.”
Sir Riley looked at the king. He nodded. Sir Riley hurried to Jewel’s room. Keven and King Ronald followed.
Sir Riley dropped on his knees by Jewel’s side.
“Riley.” She whispered.
Sir Riley smiled, then he leaned over and softly kissed her.
King Ronald smiled, then putting his arm around Keven, he whispered, “It seems we have gained our Jewel, only to have lost her once more. But, I have gained another son, and you a brother.
(That's it! I hope you enjoyed this story!)
I had a beautiful cat that we bestowed with a godawful name: Coconut. Because the name was so inappropriate for such beauty, we instead called him Coco, like the undying beauty found in Coco Chanel's lovely creations.
Coco was a stray who landed on our doorstep one cold and rainy February night. He was smart enough that once he'd come inside and finished the bite to eat we'd given him, he immediately pounced upon my chair and and proceeded to curl up directly on my chest just over my heart, as if to say, "Hey there! I know you make the decisions. I like it here a bunch. Can I please stay?"
Needless to say, I was smitten, not only with his beauty and gorgeous midnight blue eyes and Flame Point Siamese coloring, but also with his eagerness to love and his intellect. I often said Coco was smarter than anyone I knew, and I still think that was a fairly accurate assumption.
Over the eighteen years that I was gifted with this ginormous and beautiful animal's soul, I came to realize that he was my Spirit Animal in every possible sense. One look into his blue eyes or one sound of his loud and lamb like meow, and I immediately knew what he was thinking or wanted. If was as if we were on the same mental planes. While I have had several close relationships with animals in my fifty something years, I had never experienced such a profound relationship as the one I had with Coco.
I lost Coco after eighteen blissful years. It was and remains the hardest animal loss I've ever experienced. At times, so intense is my grief that I still cry at the least thought of him. No, in my lifetime there will never again be another sweet animal soul in my life like sweet Coco, for he was one of a kind, unique in all ways, and derived from dreams of legendary cats that once belonged to Gods long ago in far places like Egypt.
I'll miss and love you, Coco - always.
Farewell! (for now)
I bring you sad news, fellow writers. I am leaving The Prose. :(
But wait; don't cry! It's only for the summer!!!
I can see the relief on your face. Come on! I wouldn't do that to you!
So, why am I doing this? Because I've got stuff to do.
Things like weddings, graduations, family vacations, writing (and writing contest entries), work, helping relatives (which I have a TON of) and DIY projects. (In other words: LIFE GETS BUSY THIS SUMMER! And yes, to me, this is a good thing. I like being busy!)
Yeah, I know that it's very sad for you.
Now, don't worry; I'll be back in the fall! And maybe, just maybe, I'll drop by now and then to check on what my favorite people are doing. (For example, I have to read any new chapters of Princess Undercover by PhelaTK that come out. If I don't, I'll go crazy!!!)
Other than that, I will be silent.
I might randomly enter a challenge or write a post.
But I doubt it.
There is a good thing about this, though!
This fall, you can get super excited when I rejoin you! :P
Anyway, I hope you guys don't miss me too much. You see, I've got this idea that there's a few people who might, but maybe I'm wrong. :)
(Hopefully I'm not too addicted to The Prose, or this will be extremly painful...)
So, friends and fellow writers, this is...
FAREWELL! (for now)
"You are currently in the hub area of the Training World." Tate explained, still grinning. "Mitch considers beaches calming, as do countless others who choose to vacation at them in the real world. That is why he chose this kind of setting for an in between during training scenarios."
"All of these people here, are they here to train as well?" Janet asked.
"No, they are also AIs." Wasila replied in a friendly tone. "They are here to add to this hub's ambience, and they are happily enjoying this purpose, as you can see by how much fun they are having. Should a trainee visiting want a quieter atmosphere, by request the AIs would simply head to the hotel resort nearby, resulting in a different vibe. Of course, the same amenities the AIs enjoy are available to trainees too!"
"So a training and vacation destination combined.... this is truly incredible!" Janet gushed. "Speaking of trainees, are there any others here besides me?"
"Indeed, there are three others here." Tate answered. "Rick, Essie and Cerissa are currently in battle simulations as we speak. Rick is sparring against the mutated version of Petunia, while Cerissa and Essie are squaring off with Carli and Erin before they found redemption. They are trying to perform the Sorceress Queen fusion spell in the heat of battle."
"I am so amazed by all of this." Janet said sincerely. "So, how is the data generated for the training simulations?"
"Like this." Wasila replied, briefly placing her hand on Janet's forehead. "I now have access to all of your memories from your adventures, and can create a simulation of your choice based on this info. Tate and I have access to everything that happens during your training, and we can provide coaching and feedback upon your return to this hub. With this in mind, do you have a training scenario you would like set up?"
"Yes, please. Here is my request...."
To be continued....
Luke 12:25 - Making Room For God’s Guidance (Bible Journal)
"Can all your worries add a single moment to your life (Luke 12:25 NLT)?"
Confession: I have been a worrier since I was a kid. I have struggled with worry all of my life, and it will definitely be something I will never completely conquer on my own. Even in this moment I have concerns on my mind - a few major ones, many smaller ones. To answer the question Jesus asks in today's Scripture, worrying about my concerns won't add a single moment to my life, and it won't solve anything either. Of course, some issues that lead to worry do need to be addressed. Ignoring the rent payment due or a potential health issue will no doubt lead to more trouble later. However, agonizing over these things in our minds when there isn't anything that can be done in the moment won't lead anywhere. Something that has helped is attempting to quiet my mind while asking God for guidance with what is concerning me, making an effort to not wrestle with the worry to leave an opening for God to put a thought in my mind that could truly assist. The following quote is one that I feel God led me to that I have utilized for years when needing to clear my head to make room for the Lord's guidance:
"No opposite can cancel itself. Just like a Chinese finger puzzle... what happens the more you pull? The tighter it gets. So can the answer be to pull harder? But the self that pulls can’t imagine what life would be if it weren’t struggling. When you see that nothing you struggle with in thought can be put to rest by the thought that struggles with it, the mind will quiet itself."
- Excerpted from "The Heart & Soul of Freedom" by Guy Finley.
Lord, thank You for reminding me of the dangers of worry. Please help me to practice worrying less, and listening for Your guidance instead. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
A Regretted Promise
King Ronald sat in his study. He had imprisoned Sir Riley, only to have him escape. To tell the truth, Ronald did not feel that Sir Riley was the murderer. But there still was the flower, and Sir Riley would not tell him where he supposedly lost the flower. He had said that he would sometime, but not then. Ronald had warned Sir Riley that not telling everything would only make things worse, but Sir Riley stubbornly refused to tell him.
Not only this matter had made his life chaos, but the fact that they discovered an enemy spy from Siddel. He had managed to get into the ball. When he was discovered, they barely missed capturing him. This probably meant a war with Siddel, and probably with its ally Ronté.
Doctor Harrison stepped in.
“Sire,” he said, quietly, “The princess would like to speak to you.”
Ronald hurried to Jewel’s room. He stood by her bed.
’What is it, my dear?”
“Papa, I must tell you something, but first let me ask this, is it true that Sir Riley is imprisoned?” Jewel asked softly.
Ronald started in surprise. Then he asked sharply, “Jewel, what does this knight mean to you?”
Jewel lay still for a moment, then said quietly, “Papa, I know you have promised me to Prince Leos, but, papa, I don’t love him. I love Sir Riley.”
Ronald’s head span. Could this be true? That his daughter loved a simple knight? And that he himself promised his own beloved daughter to someone that she did not love? When he gained control of himself, he gazed at his daughter.
“Jewel are you sure that you love Sir Riley?”
“With all my heart, papa. Please, don’t make me marry the prince, I despise him.”
“My daughter, I have promised you to Prince Leos. Now that I know that you love Sir Riley, I know not what to do. I do not want you to be unhappy. I wish that somehow, I could give you to Sir Riley. If I could, that would be wonderful, but I don’t see how I could do it without breaking my word.”
“Well, I shall do my best. I love you dearly, and don’t wish to see you unhappy. If only I knew before now, I wouldn’t have this mess.”
King Ronald, left. His mind was whirling. How was he to get out of this? He wanted Jewel to be happy, but he could not break his word.
End of Chapter Seven
(If you are not being tagged when new chapters come out, and would like to be, let me know!)
How Do We End All This?
This is long, and for some of you, it may be boring but one simple fact remains; the reasons are incredible with the examples I cite, and the numbers are staggering. And the facts cannot be disputed.
Gun violence is on an all-time high, especially with the recent events that happened in Buffalo, New York.
So, I wish to bring you a timeline of events I have researched. You can Google any of the following if you care to, to get any additional information if you so choose.
Thus, let us begin.
July 26, 1764 – first known mass killing at a school. Four Lenape Native Americans entered the schoolhouse near present-day Greencastle, Pennsylvania, shot and killed schoolmaster Enoch Brown, and killed ten children. Only two children survived.
November 2, 1853 – In Louisville, Kentucky, a student, Matthew Ward, bought a self-cocking pistol in the morning, went to school, and killed Schoolmaster Mr. Butler for excessively punishing his brother the day before.
April 30, 1866– An editorial in the New York Times argued against students carrying pistols, citing "...pistols being dropped on the floor at balls or being exploded in very inconvenient ways. A boy of twelve has his pantaloons made with a pistol pocket; and this at a boarding-school filled with boys, who, we suppose, do, or wish to do the same thing. We would advise parents to look into it and learn whether shooting is to be a part of the scholastic course which may be practiced on their boys; or else we advise them to see that their own boys are properly armed with the most approved and deadly-pistol, and that there may be an equal chance at least of their shooting as of being shot." (You can consider this the first argument against kids carrying weapons to school. It is important to note it was a newspaper that stepped up, and not the government, nor local political figureheads.)
June 8, 1867 - New York City at Public School No. 18, a 13-year-old boy brought a pistol loaded and capped, without the knowledge of his parents or schoolteachers and shot and injured a fellow classmate.
April 12, 1887 – In Watertown, New York Edwin Bush, a student, at the Potsdam Normal School committed suicide by shooting himself in the head while in class.
June 12, 1887 – In Cleveland, Tennessee Will Guess went to the school and fatally shot Miss Irene Fann, his little sister's teacher, for whipping her the day before.
February 26, 1902 – In Camargo, Illinois teacher Fletcher R. Barnett shot and killed another teacher, Eva C. Wiseman, in front of her class at a school near Camargo, Illinois. After shooting at a pupil who came to help Miss Wiseman and wounding himself in a failed suicide attempt, he waited in the classroom until a group of farmers came to lynch him. He then ran out of the school building, grabbed a shotgun from one of the farmers and shot himself, before running away and leaping into a well where he finally drowned.
February 24, 1903 – In Inman, South Carolina Edward Foster, a 17-year-old student at Inman High school, was shot and fatally wounded by his teacher Reuben Pitts after he had jerked a rod from Pitts' hands to resist punishment. According to the teacher, Foster struck the pistol Pitts had drawn to defend himself, thus causing its discharge. Pitts was later acquitted of murder.
March 23, 1907 - In Carmi, Illinois George Nicholson shot and killed John Kurd at a schoolhouse outside of Carmi, Illinois during a school rehearsal. The motive for the shooting was Kurd making a disparaging remark about Nicholson's daughter during her recital.
February 12, 1909 - In San Francisco, California 10-year-old Dorothy Malakoff, was shot and killed by 49-year-old Demetri Tereshchenko as she arrived at her school in San Francisco. Tereshchenko then shot himself in a failed suicide attempt. Tereshchenko was reportedly upset that Malakoff refused to elope with him.
May 18, 1927 - In Bath, Michigan, School treasurer Andrew Kehoe, after killing his wife and destroying his house and farm, blew up the Bath Consolidated School by detonating dynamite in the basement of the school, killing 38 people, mostly children. He then pulled up to the school in his Ford car, then blew the car up, killing himself and four others. Only one shot was fired in order to detonate dynamite in the car. This was deadliest act of mass murder at a school in the United States up to that time.
February 15, 1933 – In Downey, California Dr. Vernon Blythe shot and killed his wife Eleanor, as well as his 8-year-old son Robert at Gallatin grammar school and committed suicide after firing three more shots at his other son Vernon. His wife, who had been a teacher at the school, had filed for divorce the week before.
May 6, 1940 – In South Pasadena, California. After being removed as principal of South Pasadena Junior High School, Verlin Spencer shot six school officials, killing five, before attempting to commit suicide by shooting himself in the stomach.
October 2, 1942 - In New York City, New York "Erwin Goodman, 36-year-old mathematics teacher of William J. Gaynor Junior High School, was shot and killed in the school corridor by a youth.
February 23, 1943 - In Port Chester, NY Harry Wyman, 13-year-old, shot himself dead at the Harvey School, a boys' preparatory school.
November 13, 1949 – In Columbus, Ohio, Ohio State University freshman James Heer, grabbed a .45 caliber handgun from the room of a Delta Tau Delta fraternity brother and shot and killed his fraternity brother Jack McKeown, 21, an Ohio State senior.
April 9, 1952 – In New York City, New York A 15-year-old boarding-school student shot a dean rather than relinquish pin-up pictures of girls in bathing suits.
October 2, 1953 – In Chicago, Illinois 14-year-old Patrick Coletta was shot to death by 14-year-old Bernice Turner in a classroom of Kelly High School in Chicago. It was reported that after Turner refused to date Coletta, he handed her the gun and dared her to pull the trigger, telling her that the gun was "only a toy."
April 17, 1956 - In New York City, New York 18-year-old Henry Smith, a student at a Bronx vocational high school, is stabbed to death by 16-year-old Randolph Lawrence, a fellow student. The stabbing was sparked over a dispute about a basketball game.
May 1, 1958 - In Massapequa, New York A 15-year-old high school freshman was shot and killed by a classmate in a washroom of the Massapequa High School.
September 24, 1959: New York City, New York Twenty-seven men and boys and an arsenal were seized in the Bronx as the police headed off a gang war resulting from the fatal shooting of a teenager Monday at Morris High School. (Luckily, this prevented what would have been a disaster in the making.)
April 20, 1961 - In Chicago, Illinois Teacher Josephine Keane, 45, is sexually assaulted and stabbed to death inside a storeroom at Lewis-Champlin elementary school in Chicago. Lee Arthur Hester, a 14-year-old student, was later convicted of the murder and sentenced to 55 years in prison.
October 17, 1961 - In Denver, Colorado Tennyson Beard, 14, got into an argument with William Hachmeister, 15, at Morey Junior High School. During the argument Beard pulled out a .38 caliber revolver and shot at Hachmeister, wounding him. A stray bullet also struck Deborah Faith Humphrey, 14, who died from her gunshot wound.
August 1, 1966 - The University of Texas Massacre Charles Whitman, climbs atop the observation deck at the University of Texas-Austin, killing 16 people and wounding 31 during a 96-minute shooting rampage.
November 12, 1966 - In Mesa, Arizona Bob Smith, 18, took seven people hostage at Rose-Mar College of Beauty, a school for training beauticians. Smith ordered the hostages to lie down on the floor in a circle. He then proceeded to shoot them in the head with a 22-caliber pistol. Four women and a three-year-old girl died, one woman and a baby were injured but survived. Police arrested Smith after the massacre. Smith had reportedly admired Richard Speck and Charles Whitman.
November 19, 1969 - In Tomah, Wisconsin Principal Martin Morgenstern is shot to death in his office by a 14-year-old boy armed with a 20-gauge shotgun. (One seriously must question how this boy got past everyone with a 20-gauge shotgun once he stepped inside the school.)
The two most notable U.S. school shootings in the early 1970’s were the Jackson State killings in May 1970, where police opened fire on the campus of Jackson State University and the Kent State shootings also in May 1970 where the National Guard opened fire on the campus of Kent State University. (Take note here: It was this shooting that really opened the eyes of the people to become more aware of shooting deaths.)
The mid to late 1970s is considered the second most violent period in U.S. school history with a series of school shootings.
December 30, 1974 – In Olean, New York, Anthony Barbaro, a 17-year-old Regents scholar armed with a rifle and shotgun, kills three adults and wounds 11 others at his high school, which was closed for the Christmas holiday. Barbaro was reportedly a loner who kept a diary describing several "battle plans" for his attack on the school.
June 12, 1976 – At California State University, Fullerton massacre, where the school's custodian opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle in the library on the California State University, Fullerton campus killing seven, and wounding two others.
February 22, 1978 – In Lansing, Michigan, after being taunted for his beliefs, a 15-year-old self-proclaimed Nazi, kills one student and wounds a second with a Luger pistol.
January 29, 1979 – At Grover Cleveland Elementary School Shootings, California, where a 16yr old girl opened fire with the rifle, a gift from her father, killing two and wounding nine.
The early 1980’s saw only a few multi-victim school shootings including;
January 20, 1983 - In St. Louis County, Missouri the Parkway South Middle School, an eighth grader brought a blue duffel bag containing two pistols, and a murder/suicide note that outlined his intention to kill the next person heard speaking ill of his older brother Ken. He entered a study hall classroom and opened fire, hitting two fellow students. The first victim was fatally shot in the stomach, and the second victim received a non-fatal gunshot wound to the abdomen. Then he said, "No one will ever call my brother a pussy again" then committed suicide.
According to the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, in the United States, from September 1986 to September 1990 (four-year period):
At least 71 people (65 students and six school employees) had been killed with guns at school.
201 were severely wounded by gun fire.
242 individuals were held hostage at gunpoint.
According to a 1987 survey conducted by the American School Health Association," 3% of the boys reported having carried a handgun to school at least once during the school year; 1% reported carrying a handgun on a daily basis."
The late 1980’s began to see a major increase in school shootings.
September 4, 1985 – In Richmond, Virginia, at the end of the second day of school at East End Middle School a 12yr old boy shot a girl with his mother's gun.
October 18, 1985 - In Detroit, Michigan during halftime of the homecoming football game between Northwestern High School and Murray-Wright High School. A boy who was in a fight earlier that day pulled out a shotgun and opened fire, injuring six students.
November 26, 1985 – In Spanaway, Washington A 14yr old girl shot two boys dead then kills herself with a .22-caliber rifle at the Spanaway Junior High School.
December 10, 1985 - In Portland, Connecticut at the Portland Junior High School, the Principal was having a heated discussion with a 13-year-old male eighth grader when he locked the boy inside an office. The student then pulled out a 9mm assault rifle and opened fire. The bullet shattered the glass door and struck the left forearm of the secretary, and the glass injured the principal. The boy fled for the second floor, where he encountered the janitor, and he shot him in the head. The boy then took a seventh-grader hostage. The boy's father and another family member came to the school and talked to him over the intercom system. After 45 minutes, he tossed the gun out a school window and was taken into custody.
May 16, 1986 - The Cokeville Elementary School hostage crisis, in a ransom scheme; David and Doris Young, both in their forties, took 150 students and teachers' hostage. Their demand for $300 million dollars came to an abrupt end when Doris accidentally set off a bomb, killing herself and injuring 78 students and teachers. David wounded John Miller, a teacher who was trying to flee, then killed himself.
May 20, 1988 – In Winnetka, Illinois, 30yr old Laurie Dann shot and killed one boy, and wounded five other kids, in an elementary school, then took a family hostage and shot a man before killing herself.
September 26, 1988 - In Greenwood, South Carolina in the cafeteria of the Oakland Elementary School, 19-year-old James William Wilson Jr., shot and killed Shequilla Bradley, 8, and wounded eight other children with a 9-round .22 caliber pistol. He went into the girl's restroom to reload where he was attacked by Kat Finkbeiner, a Physical Education teacher. James shot her in the hand and mouth. He then entered the 3rd grade classroom and wounded six more students. Wilson had been known for severe manic- depressive states. As of now, he still sits on death row, compounded by a 175-year life sentence.
December 16, 1988 - In Virginia Beach, Virginia Nicholas Elliott, 15, opened fire with a SWD Cobra M-11 semiautomatic pistol on his teachers at the Atlantic Shores Christian School. His first shots struck teacher Karen Farley in the arm; when she went down, he killed her at point-blank range. Nicholas then injured Sam Marino. He turned the Cobra toward his classmates, but the gun jammed, and he was quickly subdued by M. Hutchinson Matteson, a teacher, before he could fire another round.
January 17, 1989 - The Cleveland School massacre of Stockton, California where five school children were killed and 29 wounded by a lone gunman firing over a hundred rounds into a schoolyard from an AK-47.
From the late 1980’s to the early 1990’s the United States saw a sharp increase in gun violence in the schools. According to a survey conducted by The Harvard School of Public Health: "15% said that they had carried a handgun on their person in the past 30 days, and 4% said that they had taken a handgun to school in the past year." This was a sharp increase from just five years earlier. By 1993, the United States saw some of the most violent time is school shooting incidences.
May 1, 1992 - In Olive Hurst, California, Eric Houston, 20, killed four people and wounded ten in an armed siege at his former high school. Prosecutors said the attack was in retribution for a failing grade.
According to the National School Safety Center, since the 1992-1993 U.S. school year there has been a significant decline in school-associated violent deaths (deaths on private or public-school property for kindergarten through grade 12 and resulting from school's functions or activities):
1992-1993 (44 Homicides and 55 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
1993-1994 (42 Homicides and 51 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
1994-1995 (17 Homicides and 20 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
1995-1996 (29 Homicides and 35 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
1996-1997 (23 Homicides and 25 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
1997-1998 (35 Homicides and 40 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
1998-1999 (25 Homicides from school shootings in the U.S.)
1999-2000 (25 Homicides from school shootings in the U.S.)
According to the U.S. Department of Education, in the 1998-1999 School Year, 3,523 Students (57% High School, 33% Junior High, 10% Elementary) were expelled for bringing a firearm to school. (Seeing the word elementary, has me begging the question, "Were first graders carrying guns?")
The late 1990’s started to see a major reduction in gun related school violence, but was still plagued with multiple victim shootings including;
October 12, 1995 - In Blackville, South Carolina A suspended student shot two math teachers with a .32 caliber revolver.
February 2, 1996 - In Moses Lake, Washington, two students and one teacher were killed, one other wounded when 14-year-old Barry Laukaitis opened fire on his algebra class.
February 19, 1997 – A Bethel, Alaska Principal and one student killed, two others wounded by Evan Ramsey, 16.
October 1, 1997 - In Pearl, Mississippi, two students were killed and seven wounded by Luke Woodhams, 16, who was also accused of killing his mother. He and his friends were said to be outcasts who worshiped Satan.
March 24, 1998 -In Jonesboro, Arkansas, four students and one teacher killed, ten others wounded outside as Westside Middle School emptied during a false fire alarm. Mitchell Johnson, 13, and Andrew Golden, 11, shot at their classmates and teachers from the woods.
May 21, 1998 - Springfield, Oregon, two students were killed, 22 others wounded in the cafeteria at Thurston High School by 15-year-old Kip Kinkel. Kinkel had been arrested and released a day earlier for bringing a gun to school. His parents were later found dead at home.
April 20, 1999 - Littleton, Colorado, 14 students (including shooters) and one teacher killed, 27 others wounded at Columbine High School in the nation's deadliest school shooting. Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, had plotted for a year to kill at least 500 people and blow up their school. At the end of their hour-long rampage, they turned their guns on themselves.
(This was the catalyst that enraged a country, demanding something to be done to prevent another tragedy like this from happening again … but, as we know, the idea of prevention, the finding a solution, is easier said than done.)
2000 – 2010 – By the numbers only:
2000-2001 (19 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
2001-2002 (4 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
2002-2003 (14 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
2003-2004 (29 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
2004-2005 (20 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
2005-2006 (5 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
2006-2007 (38 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
2007-2008 (3 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
2008-2009 (10 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
2009-2010 (5 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
The numbers are staggering. The deaths needless. Over three-fourths of the reasons, senseless, or idiotic.
Congress passes tougher gun laws, tighter restrictions for registering a weapon, while on the other side of the coin, American’s scream out their right to own and bear weapons. Between the two, it hasn’t stopped the continued onslaught of our nation’s schools. I will never argue the right to be able to defend oneself, but if a person needs an assault weapon to do so, then there is something terribly wrong in the mindset of these gun owners.
Since the Columbine massacre, there have been over 600 fatal school shootings and we will still continue counting.
Since Columbine, there have been 231 school shootings.
Over 600 have died as the result of school shootings, which includes perpetrators.
Along with fatalities, an additional 485 people have been injured from on-campus shootings since Columbine.
In 2018 alone, there were 35 mass school shootings.
The following are considered to be the worst school shootings ever:
Virginia Tech massacre
Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting: This shooting affected 20 young children.
Parkland, Florida shooting: Parkland resulted in a ton of youth advocacy for better gun control legislation.
Red Lake shooting
Santa Fe High School shooting
Umpqua Community College shooting
About 10 years ago, the Virginia Tech shooting became one of the deadliest mass shooting in America of any kind. That title has since been dwarfed by the Las Vegas shooting and the Orlando nightclub shooting, both of which happened outside of schools. These attacks are unnerving since they are so recent and so bloody, showing the potential for damage unthinkable in a school setting. But these events have watered down our reactions to school shootings; while Columbine led to a shocking 15 deaths, Las Vegas led to an unimaginable 59.
If you have gotten this far, ask yourself what you can do to either curb or put to an end the senseless waste of life of people that were already cut down before they had a chance to make a difference in the world. In part, those who were killed during church services, or those who were slaughtered out of racial indifference
The excuse of “What can I do, I’m just one person” just doesn’t cut it any longer.
If you are a parent with children in school, or a student, you can make a difference. You can be the difference.
And this is where I ask you a question. Since the government, or Congress (take your pick), can’t seem to find a solution to all this … what would you think, or believe, would be the best course of action to stop the violence in schools, on the streets, or perhaps ... in your own neighborhood?
Sir Riley stood there, looking out between the bars.
“Well! Sir Riley!” exclaimed a voice behind him.
Sir Riley turned, there stood Purvis.
The butler smiled, “May I ask what you are doing here?”
“Same reason you are.”
“Murder?” Asked Purvis, with a wry smile.
“Purvis, I’m sorry for not telling them that you had been at my house last night. I had hoped to use you for a blind, while I carried out my plan to capture the true murderer.”
“That is all right.” then Purvis smiled, “Though how you are going to capture him while you are in here, is beyond me.”
Sir Riley scowled, “This was not part of my plan.”
Purvis turned to hide his smile. Then he heard a sound. It was low and rumbling. He turned to find Sir Riley laughing.
“This is hilarious!” he gasped, “Here we both are, in jail, and neither one of us is the criminal, yet we are in here, and he’s out there!”
Sir Riley laughed harder, “So much for my plan!”
The guard came over to see what all the noise was about. He found both prisoners gasping for breath between spasms of laughter.
“Say, what is going on?” he demanded, gruffly.
“Nothing!” gasped Sir Riley.
They both began laughing harder, if that was even possible.
The guard walked away muttering. He met a fellow guard.
“Those prisoners! They’re in there laughing hysterically over nothing!”
“Let me see.” asked the other.
He looked through the bars. The two were still laughing.
“Hmm. Maybe they’re out of their minds.” he suggested, “If so, I’ve never seen it happen so abruptly. But then, I’ve never seen it happen at all.” And the he was laughing too.
The other guard scowled at him. “Why don’t you go were you belong; in the garbage pit.”
The other guard returned to his post, still laughing.
When Sir Riley and Purvis gained control of themselves once more, they sat down.
“Whew, you know, I think we almost lost our minds there.” gasped Sir Riley.
“Impossible! You never had a mind to lose!” snickered Purvis.
Sir Riley glared at him. “I thought butlers were supposed to be dignified.”
“You’re forgetting, I’m not a butler anymore, I’m a prisoner.”
“All right, time to get serious.” said Sir Riley, “How are we going to get out of here?”
Both men sat down to think.
Purvis had been moved to a separate cell. Sir Riley sat staring at the stone wall across from him. The sun shone through the barred window. Suddenly the sun was blocked. Sir Riley looked up, and then leapt to his feet, and went over to the window. He spoke in a low voice. A hand passed through between the bars. Sir Riley grasped it fervently. Then the shadow disappeared. Sir Riley turned away from the window. He did not sit back down, but paced the cell, with quick nervous steps.
The next afternoon, the same thing happened again. This time, however, the hand passed through a small bottle and a long thin object wrapped in a cloak. Sir Riley slipped them under his cot.
That evening, Sir Riley listened to the steady trap of the guard’s feet, marching up and down the corridor. A boy brought down a cup.
’Ah, finally!” exclaimed the guard, “Put it down there.”
The boy set it down on a bench, about two feet away from Sir Riley’s cell door. The guard and the boy stood talking for a moment, their backs to Sir Riley. Carefully he slipped out the bottle and cloak. Opening the bottle, he looked inside. Then he unwound the cloak, inside was a sword. He sprinkled some of the contents of the bottle on the tip of his sword. Sticking it between the bars, he dipped it in the cup. After swishing it around, he drew it back. Quickly Sir Riley pushed the bottle and sword under the cot again, just before the guard returned.
After checking on his prisoner, who seemed to be asleep, the man sat down on the bench. He picked the cup up and drank its contents and sighed happily. Then he set the cup down on the bench again. Slowly his head began to bob. Presently Sir Riley could hear him snoring.
Carefully Sir Riley took the bottle and set it on the ground. He crushed it with his heel. Then picking up the pieces, he threw them out the window. Sir Riley then wrapped himself in the cloak. Taking the sword, he used it to take the keys from the guard. Unlocking his cell, he stepped into the corridor. He crept along the passage. Meeting no one, he stepped into the prison courtyard. The guards were talking in a corner. Sir Riley slipped through the gate without them noticing. In the outer courtyard, he went towards the stables. There a figure met him. It passed him the reins to his horse.
In a whisper Sir Riley asked, “How is the Princess?”
Sir Riley mounted and left. He rode back to his own castle. The door was opened by John.
“Who is it?”
“It is I, John!”
“Oh, tis you, Sir Riley.”
There was not a trace of surprise in John’s voice. Sir Riley smiled, he had never seen John excited about anything.
“I need a change of clothing, a fresh horse and food.”
“Yes, sir, right away.”
In less than half an hour, Sir Riley was off. He rode quickly north. He was in the hill country by the time the morning sun rose over the horizon.
* * * * *
The relief guard turned the corner. He spotted the guard, sound asleep. Walking over, he shook him, “Wake up!”
The guard continued sleeping. The other guard turned and peered in Sir Riley’s cell. It was empty! The guard turned and ran up the steps and sounded the alarm. Sir Riley’s guard had been drugged.
The man that had guarded the prison courtyard was questioned. He told them that only two people had passed by the cell window.
“Who were they?”
“Prince Keven on his way to the stable, and John, you know, the servant of Sir Riley.”
“Ah, he must have snuck something to Sir Riley. Place him under arrest.”
* * * * *
Meanwhile, Sir Riley arrived at a small log cabin deep in the dark forest. A man stepped out. It was Sir Anthony, an Azlion knight who helped in the search for the villain.
“Sir Riley!” he exclaimed.
Sir Riley leapt off his horse. “I need to speak to you.”
They spoke for a long while. Sir Anthony paced up and down the room.
“I don’t know.”
“Please, I have stated the circumstances and told why I believe this the only way.”
“Yes, I know, and I believe you right, but I don’t know.”
Sir Anthony pulled his hand out of his pocket, and a paper drifted down. Sir Riley picked it up. His eyes grew wide.
“Sir Anthony, who wrote this note?”
Sir Anthony looked puzzled, leaning over he flipped the note over and pointed to the signature.
“Look.” Sir Riley pulled out of his pocket the note written by the villain. He held the notes next to each other. Sir Anthony looked at them.
“Why, the handwriting matches!” he exclaimed in surprise.
“The person who wrote these notes is the villain!”
“What! But he is…I know him myself and…”
“Yes, but I have showed you the evidence and stated the facts. He is the murderer.”
Sir Anthony looked at Sir Riley. “This means that disaster has struck and the reputation of many is at stake.”
“Yes, and there is little that we can do.” Replied Sir Riley.
“But, who is going to tell the king?” asked Sir Anthony.
“All right, but what are you going to be doing?” Sir Anthony asked.
“The dirty work.” Sir Riley said meaningfully.
“You mean…” Sir Anthony asked.
“Well, I wish you luck and hope you succeed.”
“Thank you, I wish you luck also.” answered Sir Riley.
“Thanks, I’ll probably need it. This is not going to be easy.”
The two knights parted, each going their own ways. Before they parted, Sir Riley handed Sir Anthony a note.
“Deliver this to you know who.” Sir Riley said.
“Of course,” replied Sir Anthony.
End of Chapter Six
(I hope you enjoyed this chapter! If you are not being tagged when new chapters come out, and would like to be, let me know!)
The Fuzzy End of the Lollipop
Since when was the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre funny? Even fictionalised - as it is in this movie - it’s hardly a barrel of laughs, is it? Especially when you’re looking down the barrel of a Tommy gun. It’s enough to make you choke on your tooth-pick. Maybe being filmed in black and white disguises the brutality of the scene (this certainly is no Scarface or The Untouchables). The blood on his spats that he’s troubled by later - not as bad, surely, as the coffee (that isn’t really coffee) which had been spilled on them in an earlier scene - these are the least of the worries that the humourless, cardboard cutout villain of the piece should be concerned with, surely?
Transgender rights are hotly-contested these days. But if you’re hoping for a nuanced approach to such matters, you won’t find them here. And it has to be said that the two cross-dressing leads - playing a pair of wisecracking down-on-their-luck musicians who have inadvertently witnessed a slice of gang warfare - really don’t look all that convincing at all as members of the fair sex. Even in black and white. Where’s Robin Williams when you need him? It’s not just the much-put-upon manager of the all-female band that they infiltrate (in their attempt to escape the Chicago Mob) who appears to have lost his glasses - everybody else is just as myopic, and there can be no other explanation, surely, for how they get away with their implausible scheme for so long.
The film’s view of millionaires (they would be billionaires now, of course - such are the effects of inflation) is quaint, to say the least. The assumption that most of them would be octogenarians is clearly outdated. Silicon Valley geeks were clearly a thing of the future. A modern-day remake of this film would doubtless feature a villainous billionaire looking like just like ‘Dr Evil’, with an obsession with space - and the package that is delivered in a key scene containing an expensive bracelet for one of the cross-dressing leads that he has unaccountably fallen for (more shortsightedness at work, clearly), would now be delivered by the billionaire’s ubiquitous freight service (which would be named Orinoco, or something suitable exotic). But instead of which, we must contend with stereotypical investors in stocks, shares, and futures; and watch as their beady eyes lift up in concert from the columns of the Wall Street Journal to peruse a rather more shapely set of statistics heading their way - not our gender-bending protagonists, but the seductively-proportioned ukulele player who functions as the female lead of the movie.
By all accounts, she didn’t get on at all with her male opposite number, and so the joke about the frigidity of their characters’ on-screen relationship may have mirrored what was actually happening behind-the-scenes. Not that any of this seems to bother the other male lead, the double bass player - one shake of his maracas, and he’s being proposed to by a lecherous millionaire who bears absolutely no resemblance to Elon Musk. Give it another thirty years, mind…
The reliance upon coincidence to further the ridiculous plot is telling. The most obvious example of this is when the hoodlums end up staying at the same hotel (out of all the many, many possible candidates) as the fugitives, where their improbable disguise as lovers of Italian opera is as unlikely as the fate they come to as a result of a suspiciously overlarge birthday cake. Viewers might be forgiven for assuming that at this point the female lead would pop out of said cake singing, ‘Happy Birthday, Mr President.’ No such luck. Never mind the sheer implausibility of a guy with a submachine gun hiding in a cake. Instead, let’s all chuckle as the spat-wearing villain spats out his final line: ‘Big Joke.’ It’s no Madame Butterfly.
Lots of screwball comedy ensues, with endless running around frantically (so much so, I was expecting Benny Hill to turn up at one point, and for Yakety Sax to start playing). But no, the only sax on view belongs to the square-jawed Spartacus star (no, not Kurt, the other one) who the ukulele player has fallen for, hook, line and stinker - despite the fact that, by his own admission, all he call really offer her is coleslaw in the face, old socks, and a squeezed-out tube of toothpaste. What an implausible end for these characters - though not quite as much so as the fate that awaits not-Spartacus’ best buddy. Despite asserting his true masculinity at the very conclusion of the movie, he still faces the prospect of marriage to a dirty-minded Bill Gates-substitute. Wowser.
In the final analysis, it’s all a bit of a lemon. I’m sorry to have poured cold water on those who think this movie is some kind of classic. But what more can I say about the film director who gave us this unlikely piece of whimsy - other than this?
‘Well, nobody’s perfect.’