They Know--A Finding Jack 420 story

As always guys, this is a random post, but it is a small, VERY small story from my new book that is going to be finished some time next year.  As a kind reminder, what you read will not reflect the tone, give plot spoilers, or reveal anything that I don't want you to see.  This piece is edited by myself and another person, but not dissected by The Publisher yet. I decided to capitalize "The Publisher" because it sounds cool like "The Punisher".  And because at any time The Publisher can end anything I worked 15 years on. Respect.

They Know

It was the loudest goddamn sound I’ve ever heard in my life.  My goddamn miserable life.  It sounded like a car crash in the very cortex of my ear.  A nuclear blast! It was horrible.  But it was an alarm for me to run.  Because they know.

I walked into the next room of my house.  It was obliterated.  I mean there was nothing that I could recognize.  My ears were still ringing. I couldn’t walk right because the concussion from the impact imploded my brain. My head hurt! But they know! They fucking know! Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck FUCK! They know! What am I going to do? I can’t run anymore! I ran all the way across the planet!

The lifeless hunk of metal lay dripping ooze out of its… whatever it turned into.  Its taxi was smashed into a yellow pulp. If metal can become pulp. My bed was on fire.  The hole it left in its wake blew the coldest air I’d ever felt.  But what chilled me the most—fuck fuck fuck fuck—was the perfectly severed nose that lay, like a golden egg on my scortched pillow.  It was an offering, no, a reckoning.  It was a reminder of what I did.  They know! I don’t know how they would… don’t know how they could, but they know!

I grabbed the only two things of importance to me—my zone pass, and what was left of my computer.  Half of the keyboard was missing, but it didn’t matter.  The data was still in the chip, the chip was on the half that wasn’t burnt. But… oh, my god. Oh, oh my GOD! How did they find me! The nose was… it was… oh fuck… it was… oh no, oh no… oh shit, why did I ever open my mouth? Why did I ever talk?

I had no money.  I had nothing! I couldn’t stop… couldn’t stop running.  I felt I ran for the longest time.  I felt I ran until the world ended. My world is ending. This is it. This is how it ends.  This is what happens.  They find you, they leave a nose on your pillow.  They taunt you! They torture you! They… oh fuck, who cares? I’m done for.  But I can’t stop running!  I ran until my legs felt fire.  Then I ran until my chest hurt. Adrenaline! YeahI I need more! I saw an alley. There was a flicker.  I know what that is!  I know. I fucking know!  

I aimed the burnt side of the computer down on his head. At least I think it was a he.  I heard the crack. I didn’t care if there was a crunch.  I just saw one more flicker right before my arms came crashing down. His, I don’t know what they call it in this zone, was laying on the ground. I grabbed his spark, I lit it and it filled my lungs.  I could feel my body, my eyes rise up out of my head and see their own souls dialate. And then my heart took off. It flew through my body and my legs couldn’tkeep up.  I’m no idiot. I know if you don’t drink that drink they do, it keeps the heart going! 

I ran way outside of town. My computer was still under my arm.  It was the pitch black of night, felt like seconds from when the taxi smashed though my hideout.  Fuck those government clowns. My heart was slowing.  My mind still racing. Need to call into work tomorrow. First week at Norris North Hospital, but I need to buy myself time.  Tell them I was visiting my sister in zone 3 when I got the call from the guard telling me there was an accident at my house.  Think. THINK. There’s more to do.  I can still have seconds… maybe enough time. Maybe. My breath was still panting. My feet were sore and bloody. There was a light, faint, but a light in the distance.  It was through the briar patch.  Shoeless.  I can still do this. I saved it.  But they know.  They must know where I am now.  It doesn’t matter.  I still see the nose on my pillow. Robot messenger.  Fuck with me?  FUCK WITH ME? You have no idea who you’re fucking with! 

I started down the hill. It hurt.  It hurt so much.  I ran. I kept running.  I feflt the drug still pitterpattering through my heart.  It was there. It was the only thing that was keeping me from passing out.  But it hurt so much.  Fuck it hurt!  My feet… oh god… can I get there? Can I get to that light? The briars stopped., but the mud and muck drew into my pores, my cuts. I collapsed. I crawled through the first muck.  Now dry land. Dirt.  My computer was still in the crook of my arm.  How did I do that?  

The last 5 meters to the door. The adrenaline was gone. I took one step and had to stop for a minute. One stop, stop for 30. You can do this! I remembered what got me here five years ago. Computer still in my arms. Arms stained with black carbon, brown muck. It’s almost over! 

I heard the dog bark. More lights came on. A man drawn with his taser came busting through the front door.

“Molly! Molly! Get the box!” It was all I heard before I went black. It was still the same night when I woke up. I don’t know how long it had been. But the agony that woke me felt like the crash through my house translated into pain. Pure pain.  I didn’t know it, but a shrapnel had pierced my leg as well.  I know this because when I woke up they were dumping alcohol all over my leg. It wasn’t even credit bought. It was bitter smelling. Smelled like honey at the same time.  And it burned.  Fuck did it ever burn.  I handed him my zone pass. He lifted took it with his grey eyes bleeding patience and angst and… what was it? Acknowledgement? No… it was something else.

“He knows, I told you he knows.” He said to his… wife? Surrogate? It didn’t matter at the time. I blacked out again.

I woke up. It was morning. Only the sun shines that hot at that time. During the day the dust particles block its rays and it never can shine like that. So I was only out for a few hours? I looked at the digital clock across the room. It was a day later. 

I lept out of bed because my computer was no longer in my arms. My head was dizzy.  My feet were on fire. Fuck fuck fuck fuck… FUCK! Where is it? Where’s my computer? Everything was happening in time lapse, but I heard the door behind me creak open in real time. 

“You rose? Why did you do that? You need rest son!”  

His elderly hands, I didn’t recognize before. They reached out to me. My computer!

“Molly! Bring this man’s computer!”  

A woman, barely able to stand, crooked back, hunched over brought in the only thing that mattered to me anymore. She handed it to me with her arms creaking louder than the door. It took her ten years to walk from the other room, but I felt it before she did. And the time lapsed in just a blink.  What was happening to me?  I snatched it out from her frail fingers and huddled in the corner.  My feet bandaged and throbbing.

They spoke in a language I never studied, but I knew what they were saying.  I kept hearing the same thing. “He knows.”

“Slow down, son,” the old man said. 

I looked at him with peculiarity. I could feel my face contort. Who are you? 

“We are here to help you. You don’t have to be afraid.”

He reached into his pocket and pulled out my badge for Norris North Hospital. I must’ve had it in my pocket. 

“Where do you come from?” he asked with his eyes trying to smile.  They know. I said.  

“I will call and tell them you’re sick.  You have the E2.”

That should buy me a month.  At least.  Who are you? Why the fuck… no one helps anyone these days.

I snatched my badge out of his hand. I held my fingers up to my ear like I was making a phone call. He nodded in earnst.

“Yeah. Yeah, I will. Molly, get some liquid for him!”

Now, a few days later. I had shoes. I had money in my pocket. I had a head start. Maybe I could outrun them? Maybe I could survive another day? Yeah. Yeah! Yeah! Fuck yeah. I can do this! I can do this! You know why? Because I’m the guy that broke this story! I’m the guy that went through SS training! I’m the guy… ah fuck, who am I kidding. They know.

I was on transit to zone 421. I don’t know how I got there, but I did. I was still alive.  

“He knows.”

What? I looked around. Every being there was either sleeping or into their device. 

“I told you he can be the one.”

My head slammed right. Slammed left. 

“What are we going to do with him?”

What the fuck is going on?  Who is talking?  

“He can’t hear us now.”



“He doesn’t understand us right now.”

I kept my eyes down. I even took out my zone pass and flipped through the pages. 

“What can we do with him?’”

“He knows! I’m telling you, he knows!”

I nodded my head. 

“You see! I told you! He knows!”

English, broken. Unknown language. 15 people. Chatter again. Unknown languages. 3 dark haired, 4 light. 8 bald. 9 females, 6 males. Switching from Chinese to English, to unknown, to German, to English.

“We have to help him.”

My head stuttered. What? 

“He is the one.”

Another dump of adrenaline seared through me. I shifted my body. I turned my eyes lower into my zone pass.


“He’s not ready.”

“I’m telling you, he knows.”

“Now what to do?”

“Follow procedure.”

What procedure?  Two more join in. One tall. So tall. Black bag. Three shift altogether.

“Hey, do you know?” I heard. It was the slightest whisper, but I heard. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to say.  Was it a good thing? Was it bad? I said nothing.

“See he doesn’t know.” 

Chatter heightened. I heard my past laid out before me. Raised: zone 4. Schooled: zone 2. Enlisted: zone 1. Deployed, lived, died, came back. I listened to them talk about the men that I lost, the women I fucked, the people I killed. 

“He can’t know. It’s not time.”

“I know you motherfuckers. I’m here. I’m ready.”

Then there was silence. They all stopped talking. I went black again. But I awoke on the same train. Same beings around me. My zone pass was still in my hand.

“Let’s make contact.” It was all I heard.  

Then my eyes blinked and there were three of them around me. They were all dressed in white. One had a hypodermic in his hand. I looked down and the computer I had in my arms was now bigger, not burnt at all. They tried to close down on me, but I got one in the nose, the other I was able to knee in the groin. The third grabbed me and slammed me down to the ground. I felt the hypodermic go into my neck and read Norris North Hospital on his badge on the way down.