Dade county bus tracker

We should go for a bike ride in the VA/MD/DC area

2012.02.22 02:51 rhizopogon We should go for a bike ride in the VA/MD/DC area

Do you bicycle in the DC region? Do you want to? Join us! We share information specific to bicycling in the greater DC/MD/VA metro area.

2023.06.03 09:34 Fair_Push_2780 Coming to terms with the fact that my experience actually was COCSA

tws for sexual abuse obviously
Anyways, my entire life I have brushed off what happened to me as a 'toxic friendship' or just 'me being a pushover'. But the truth is that I was manipulated and assaulted by my only friend growing up for several years. The biggest reasons why it's really hard for me to accept that it's not my fault is because she was a year younger than me and I never outright refused.
When I was a child I was very shy and withdrawn. I always had very few friends, especially during my younger elementary years. When I was 8 years old I rode the schoolbus and we had assigned seats. Halfway through the year the bus driver switched up our seats and I ended up next to a girl in the grade below me who we'll call M. For context, I'm also a girl. She was extroverted, kind, and the only person who had succeeded in getting me out of my shell. We had the same bus stop, so we lived close to eachother, and became fast friends. That first year was fine from what I remembered. Most of my freetime was spent riding my bike to her house and spending time there, or biking together to the creek. One thing though that I'll always regret is that I lied about her being my cousin to my classmates and teacher. Sometimes she'd follow me to class but I was embarrassed about my only friend being younger than me, so I said she was my cousin. I promise this detail is relevant later.
Looking back she was definitely groomed / abused by someone else either irl or online. M was a very normal friend until about a year after we met. She started acting off. More childish (like, toddler level tantrums if things didn't go her way) and more secretive. I don't really remember how it started, but at some point she started showing me porn. She said she really liked watching it and wanted me to see too. I didn't really like it, but at the time I genuinely didn't see the harm in it. Thing's escalated into her touching herself while watching it near me which I really didn't like and would protest against, but she'd have a fit over it and threatened that she'd tell her mom I was the one showing her those videos.
I don't know when exactly she started touching me. I do remember that she told me 'having sex will increase your lifespan by ten years everytime you do it' and that she wanted us to 'be immortal together'. I was extremely sheltered and impressionable, so at nine years old I believed her.
When we got a little older I entered middle school a year before her and had a really great year. I made a close friend that wasn't M who was actually good for me. M hated this and was extremely jealous and upset that she'd been left behind in elementary. I tried to make my two friends get along because I wanted us all to be happy together, but instead M caused a huge rift between us all. She said that if I didn't stop being friends with the new girl she'd tell everyone about what we do together.
So I cut the new friend off. Things got really bad when M entered middle school with me, 12-14 were some of the worst years of my life. M had always bragged about using Omegle and talking to guys on Kik, but I always shut down the idea. In middle school I was having a hard time at home (financial troubles, druggie parents). So I was rather affection starved, and when M started trying to persuade me to go on Omegle with her I finally gave in.
I don't want to go into details about this part for obvious reasons. We'd go on Omegle together and seek out pedophiles (we were very young and looked it), shoddily lie about being '18' (they knew), and then do whatever these freaks wanted on cam. M was willing to do anything, but most stuff made me uncomfortable. This was when M started threatening more serious stuff. Like that she'd stop being my friend, or show everyone nudes she'd forced me to take, or even off herself if I didn't do the things she wanted. It was mostly just stripping, but sometimes they wanted us to do stuff with eachother which was the absolute worst.
My breaking point was when these men were no longer anonymous, and instead M was encouraging them to give us their Kik. That started a horrible year of everything being an unspoken competition of who could be more well-liked by the pedos we were appeasing. M stopped doing sexual things with me at this point other than for the pleasure of these men. The attention I recieved simultaneously was fulfilling and made me feel sickeningly disgusting and guilty. M became genuinely insufferable in the way she was always trying to make herself seem cuter, dedicating all her time to chatting with and sending pics to these men, and always emphasizing that she was younger than me. I was 14 when I found out I'd be moving several counties away. At the time M was my only friend, so I decided I just wouldn't tell anybody about the move and never have to deal with her again. So that's exactly what I did. I moved away and ignored all her dms and desperate attempts to find out what happened to me (like messaging my mom on facebook over and over.)
For a long time I lived in a constant state of paranoia that she'd leak innapropriate pictures / videos of me as revenge, or that she'd come forward with this story but twist it around to blame me. Now, here is the cousin part coming back around; All that time growing up a big part of why I told nobody is because it would mean admitting I lied about us being cousins, and I thought if people knew I lied about that they'd think I was untrustworthy and not believe my story.
This has effected me in many, many ways to this day. I'm bisexual but cannot fathom being in a sexual relationship with a woman. I have desires to be a streamer, but I've never gone after them because I'm terrified that CP of me is out there and somehow someone will recognize my face and link it to me now. I feel immense guilt around sex, pleasure, and porn. The mere mention of Omegle and Kik makes me very nervous, especially in the context of "LOL everyone in gen z was groomed on Kik as a kid xD." I've never tried to figure out where she is now, I don't care. I hope she got the help she needed to become a better person but I don't wanna hear about it. I've never told anyone this, ever. My friends vaguely know that some stuff happened to me online as a kid, but they have no idea about M. I feel an immense amount of shame around this that it was all caused by me being a timid pushover as a kid. Anyways. . . . 5 billion words of trauma dumping later, I'm going to post this and then go to sleep to ignore my anxious nausea.
submitted by Fair_Push_2780 to COCSA [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 04:26 ItsSimpler I had a argument today.

I had a argument today.
It is rough out there. They don’t understand the sacrifices we need to make for a fraction of the privileges they had for free.
submitted by ItsSimpler to okboomer [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 02:30 bigma36 Ohhhh I’m mf back for another spin off 🙄🙄

This is in continuation of my last post .. I didn’t catch the whole video until after I posted dat post, and now I have MORE to say 🙄🙄 -gross? We’re pretty fucking gross?? You literally started and ended that video crying about ppl talking about your fuckjng appearance like bffr … you got your kid out here begging and crying telling you that you being fucked up and begging on tik tok is embarrassing and you laugh at her.. then you out here telling folks your other child(ren) is lying about the abuse WHEN YOU HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH CHILD ABUSE. YET YOURE TELLING EVERYONE SHE IS LIAR. VICTIM SHAMING HER, THROWING HER UNDER THE BUS FOR YOUR OWN PERSONAL GAIN 👏👏👏👏 IT BAFFLES ME HOW YOURE ABLE TO SLEEP AT NIGHT (BESIDES WIRH THE MF FAN ON) -AS FAR AS “YALL KNOW DAMN GOOD AND WELL I CANT TALK ABOUT IT” I MEAN, WE KNOW DAMN GOID AND WELL YOU AINT SUPPOSE TO BE DRIVING YET HERE YOU ARE STILL DRIVING DOING STORY TIMES AND SHIT 🙄🙄🙄 -I THINK YOU SHOULD BE MORE CONCERNED WITH KEEP YOURSELF OUT OF FUCKING JAIL RATHER THAN SOMEONE ELSE “SIT THEIR ASSES IN WARREN COUNTY” -SO NOW we don’t know all the effort you’ve put into all this bc we’re not allowed to know? Lmao so how is everybody can see all this “pRogReSs” .. -Not you deflecting tryna call us “dUmB” Nawl bitch .. we ain’t dumb .. that’s why you BIG MAD crying and shit.. -that was you or one of your stankin ass girls talking about “you’ve lost the purpose” THIS SUB CLEARLY STATES IT IS FOR EXPOSING YOUR SCAMMING LYING ASS! SO HERE WE ARE. WE JUST BEEN DEFENDING YYOUR KIDS ALL THE WAY BC WELL OBVIOUSLY YOURE DEFENDING THEM .. YOU DONT GET TO ABUSE CHILDREN, DRIVE AROUND HIGH RISKING EVERYBODYS LIVES, LIE, SCAM, JUST TAKE TAKE TAKE FROM PPL .. WHEN DID YOU ONCE CARE ABOUT ANYBODY YOUVE LIED TO IN ORDER TO GET MONEY OUT OF THEM? WHETHER IT WAS A PROMISE TO PAY THEM BACK OR THEM SAME CUPS YOUVE SOLD 18 TIMES. SO PPL ARE SUPPOSE TO JUST TAKE YOUR SHIT AND SIT IN THE CORNER AND SHUT UP, NAWL .. YOU DONT GET TO DO THAT ANYMORE.. WHAT ABOUT THE PPL YOU TOOK FROM THAT ARE STRUGGLING AND COULD REALLY ISE THAT MONEY THEY HELPED YOU WITH?? YOU DONT CARE! -BUT LET SOMEBODY “bOdY sHaMe” you and you make a video immediately crying about being “buLlIeD”. No sir, it’s 2023 PPL ARENT TAKING YOUR SHIT ANYMORE! YOU AITN MAKING NO VIDEOS CRYING APOLOGIZING TO PPL FOR STEALING FROM THEM ARE YOU? NAWL BUT YOU HERE EATING AT ALL THESE RESTAURANTS BRAGGING ABOUT GETTING BIG TIPS AND BIRTHDAY SPRINKLES IN CASH APP, PAY THAT FUCKING D LADY BACK WITH THAT MONEY -also itt was bologna nipples, SpongeBob, get it right . -“y’all are showing your age” BE SERIOUS .. YOU THE ONE GETTING ON HERE TRYNA LOOK LIKE WHOOPIE ONE DAY THEN RICHARD SIMMONS THE NEXT 🙄 ALL “tO shOw tHe hAtERs” -DONT FLATTER YOURSELF WITH THAT TEETH JOKE .. WE ALL KNOW THEM TEETH DIDNT GET “WORKED” OFF .. THEY GOT TOOK BY THE DOPE. - AND ILL SIT DOWN WHEN YOU FUCKING PUT ME IN MY PLACE TO SIT TF DOWN, BIG GIRL.. -KEEP DEFLECTING .. YOU MAD BC PPL ARE CATCHING ON QND YOUR ADDICTION IS GETTING HARDER TO FUND. SOMETIMES PPL HAVE TO BE FUCKING “mEaN” bc being nice to an addict don’t get you nowhere .. you don’t have to care about yourself idgaf .. what I do care about is the lives you put in danger .. or how. Fucking sad the little kids are bc they miss mommy, but mommy is too selfish to admit she has a problem and get help not to mention as fucked up as you get,god forbid, and something happens to you, them fucking INNOCENT kids will be devastated. -denying your active using isn’t making you look “better” bc it’s fucking clear as day what’s going on .. I wish someone would’ve been mean to me sooner! -NOW next time you make a video crying making sure you put it all out there .. -I HOPE ALL THOSE ENABLERS WHO CONTINUE FEEDING YOUR HABITS AND PROBLEMATIC BEHAVIOR, I HOPE THEY KNOW THAT SHIT IS ON THEM! -GET HELP DAWG .. THERES MAT PROGRAMS .. METHADONE AND SUBOXONE BOTH HELP WITH PAIN TOO..
submitted by bigma36 to VictoriaLies [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 01:42 Separate_Depth_6491 SUBLEASE AVAILABLE FALL 2023 - SUMMER 2024

Hi everyone, I am subleasing my room in a 2 bed/1 bath apartment. Roommate is female (we prefer a female sublessee), parking is available for lease through Green Street Realty, and the bus stop is less than a minute walk away
Location : 406 East Stoughton Street
Pictures of the apartment :
Rent : $675, all utilities included
Optional parking : $50
Distances : Less than one minute walk to County Market, a 10 minute walk to Engineering Quad, and a 15 minute walk to Main Quad/Green Street
White Street Mid-Block bus stop services : Red, Teal, Yellow, and Brown
PM if interested or for any questions!
submitted by Separate_Depth_6491 to UIUC [link] [comments]

2023.06.03 01:20 Artistic-Guitar-8837 Made a post about this before. But this couldn’t be any more blatant lol now Staten Island is literally THE ONLY area not busy at the moment in the tri-state area 🤣🤣 wtf doordash?

Made a post about this before. But this couldn’t be any more blatant lol now Staten Island is literally THE ONLY area not busy at the moment in the tri-state area 🤣🤣 wtf doordash?
And before the idiots come, it doesn’t let you schedule a dash. At any time. Even if it’s midnight. For the whole week. Let me save you the time and tell you to shut up now
submitted by Artistic-Guitar-8837 to doordash_drivers [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 23:24 TerrinX8 How to use NoVa/DMV public transport (Bus and DC Metro Guide)

First step, get a 'SmarTrip' card from your closest local metro station. (The cost is only $2 for the card itself and load any amount of money you want, it defaults at 10 but you can lower that, but 6 minimum is best)
You don't need to, but you can log it on the WMATA (DC Metro) website to track how much is on it at home. The card will work on ANY and ALL metro stations and public busses.

I typically use the Fairfax Connector bus service but if you're for example in Falls Church, which is technically independent and outside Fairfax County so it doesn't use the Fairfax Connector, instead the local DC/MD bus system, which is fine because they're all under the WMATA system which is insanely convenient. This also includes Loudoun County, Southern Maryland, etc, so just remember; SmarTrip cards are your friend.

Most WMATA bus fairs are $2 for 2 hours of unlimited rides/transfers between busses. So for example I got on a buss on weds to get home at 12:18 PM, using the 2$ left on my card. So I now had $0.00 on it but I was able to transfer to the bus home without issue, I got home at 1:20-ish.

Then my mom wanted me to drive her home for practice, and it was only 1:40 so I still had a good 35ish left and I caught the bus over to her work free, even though had no money on it, because of the 2 hour grace period. A round trip by bus is typically on $4. (Having a container of change is god tier, lemme tell you, I have fuck tons of quarters just in case. If I'm going to a station where I can use my debit card to load onto my metro card, I sometimes just slap 8 quarters in so I don't have to worry about money being on my card or not and I can add when I get to the station)

Rule of thumb, always be at a bus stop 5 minutes early, because while google maps and the bus schedule text line can be scary accurate, it's always better safe then sorry. Don't let dice rolls hold you back. Same for the metro, always try to go a bit early, just to give yourself more time for stuff like adding money but I'll get into that in a bit.

When on the bus, use google maps and the LED strip that reads out the stop names, once it gets to the stop right before yours, wait till the bus begins moving and then pull the stop cord. The bus driver will stop at the next stop, and not just in the middle of the street. So pulling the cord early just guarantees your stop is selected or they will keep going to save time.

On the metro, it's pretty ez, though prices can be confusing for non-frequent riders. Basically, from 5 am to 9 AM , and 3 PM to 7PM on weekdays, a one way trip can be anywhere from $2.25 - $6.00 depending on how far you go. No idea what "far" is, but usually most trips aren't long enough to reach the 6$ amount. Typically it can be around $3 - $4.25 ish for the average trip distance. 5 or less stops and you'll probably get the $2.25 minimum. - These are "peak" fares.

That leaves 9 AM through 3 PM on weekdays and all day on weekends as "Off Peak" fares, which are $2.00 - $3.85 based on distance. Any time AFTER 9:30 PM specifically are $2 flat.

Also, once you get off the metro after a ride, you still have the 2 hour free bus grace period which hecking dope as hell, so getting around after arriving isn't that bad.

Though I typically walk a lot in DC but I'm spry and full of energy lol, it's tortuous but I don't mind.

When you use your card on the bus and then get on the metro you get like, a 25 cent discount which is negligible but it's just a nice little bonus.

Extra bus tip, if you don'[t have quarters, not enough money on your card, and only like, a $5 bill, you can put in the $5 and then touch your card to the pad, and it will load the remaining $3 dollars onto your card. Hella nifty in a pinch.

Typically my rule of thumb is to have 6 dollars minimum on your card when getting on the metro on weekends and 12 dollars on weekdays. That will be enough to cover you round trip (because the bus fair will be free). Typically this way you often end up with some left over occasionally for bus rides and stuff for when you don't the extra quarters.

Also also if you only have like $1 - 1.75 on you, the bus drivers almost always let you on anyway. So while it's embarrassing, you'll still get where you're going with less issue than you'd realize.
Here's a good resolution map of the DC Metro for convenience too.
Big Circles are stations which allow for transfer between all overlapping lines
Be careful and ride safe! (Please add any extra tips or corrections in the comments!)
submitted by TerrinX8 to nova [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 22:47 PestyProphet QUESTION - RENTING SPACE FOR FOOD TRUCK

Hi everyone,
I recently purchased a food truck to pursue my dreams of being self-employed in a business I truly enjoy. I am located in Miami-Dade county. I am looking to find a spot in the county to rent out, but I am not sure what is considered a "going rate".

Any idea on how to know a good deal as far as renting space? Where can I find spaces for food trucks to rent?

Any help is greatly appreciated guys, thank you in advance!!!
submitted by PestyProphet to foodtrucks [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 21:17 MCDOTNow Montgomery County Department of Transportation unveils ‘Ride with Pride Bus’ to Celebrate June as Pride Month

to see the time-lapsed video of the bus being wrapped and for more details, please click here.
submitted by MCDOTNow to MontgomeryCountyMD [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 19:37 No_Competition4897 [HIRING] 25 Jobs in WY Hiring Now!

Company Name Title City
CoachUSA Bus Driver - $3,000 Hiring Bonus Douglas
Eng Infotech Corporation Title Closer Baggs
Magpul Industries ERP Clerk Cheyenne
CoachUSA Bus Driver - $3,000 Hiring Bonus Gillette
Iron Mountain Director, Analyst Relations Cheyenne
Axon Account Executive, Education (Northwest) Cheyenne
inSync Staffing Warehouse Associate Burlington
Menard, Inc Part - Time Outside Yard & Receiving Casper
Boot Barn Receiving and Inventory Specialist Casper
Big Lots Retail Store Associates and Stockers - 4444 Casper
Manpower USA Manufacturing/Shipping & Receiving Casper
Big Lots Retail Store Associates and Stockers - 4678 Cheyenne
GoExpedi Warehouse Associate - Starting at $16/hr - 4 weeks PTO Cheyenne
Laramie County School Warehouse Delivery Driver Cheyenne
Usagov Supply Technician (Office Automation) Fe Warren Afb
Usagov Materials Handler (fork Lift Operator) Fe Warren Afb
FedEx Ground Warehouse Package Handler Gillette
Gustave A Larson Company Warehouse Attendant / Driver - Non CDL Laramie
Bridgesource Yard Worker Rock Springs
FleetPride, Inc. Warehouse Driver Associate Rock Springs
Admiral Beverage Corporation Seasonal Warehouse Laborer Rock Springs
University of Wyoming Business Manager - School of Nursing Laramie
University of Wyoming Pooled Hourly- Studio Manager Laramie
University of Wyoming Asst Athletic Ticket Office Manager, Sales & Service Laramie
University of Wyoming Manager, Seed Analysis Lab - State Seed Lab Powell
Hey guys, here are some recent job openings , feel free to comment here if you have any questions, I'm at the community's disposal! If you encounter any problems with any of these job openings please let me know that I will modify the table accordingly. Thanks!
submitted by No_Competition4897 to Wyomingjobs [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 19:06 Raiden720 Where does 261 stand on “ShotSpotter surveillance” gunshot detection systems in high crime areas?

On the one hand, yes, we have to admit that these are being installed in minority areas pretty much 100% of the time. On the other hand, that is where a lot of the crime takes place and a lot of the gunfire, so it makes sense to install these systems in these areas where these happen the most? This article is clearly critical of the system, and it says that there are only arrests made in 1% of the times when it “spots” gunfire. But wouldn’t removing these systems hurt the communities that these are in? Someone help me understand the counter-argument here, thank you!
Minneapolis schools secretly partnered with ShotSpotter surveillance company, cyber attack reveals
Data breach unmasks locations of gunshot detection sensors on rooftops of schools that predominantly serve Black youth
By Mark Keierleber, The 74
Shortly after a dozen gunshots erupted from a stolen red SUV on the northside of Minneapolis this month, emergency dispatchers were notified of the drive-by shooting that shattered a window at the school district’s administrative headquarters.
District officials promptly reported the shooting to the cops, who briefly halted their chase when they encountered a school bus dropping off students. A second police report, this one from a California-based surveillance company, had also alerted authorities to the ear-piercing pops.
The incident resulted in the arrest of three teenagers, who were ultimately chased down by cops on foot and a state police helicopter in the air. Shootings and car thefts have surged in Minneapolis over the last several years and, in a press release, Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O’Hara said that out-of-control youth had become “a danger to themselves and to anyone who happens to be around them.”
Yet in some ways, the teenage arrests were an anomaly: The controversial ShotSpotter surveillance sensors that notified police to the blasts, multiple reports have found, rarely direct police to the scenes of firearm crimes. Concerns about ShotSpotter false alarms and their disproportionate effects on Black residents didn’t stop the city’s school district from secretly partnering with the company, an investigation by The 74 has revealed.
For nearly a decade, Minneapolis Public Schools has made northside campus buildings available to bolster a massive surveillance network that peppers neighborhoods with microphones designed to detect, analyze and geolocate gunfire.
Since at least 2014, the school district has agreed to host nondescript ShotSpotter sensors on the rooftops of campus buildings, according to contracts that were leaked as part of a massive cyber attack on Minneapolis Public Schools earlier this year. Six agreements, signed in 2014 and 2019, authorize the sensors to be mounted atop school buildings “in an ‘out of sight’ fashion. The city maintains the primary contract to station ShotSpotter sensors throughout Minneapolis; the school district simply agreed to host the devices on their property. Last year, the city’s latest contract for the sensors totaled $168,000, according to GovSpend, a database that tracks government procurement.
Subjected to a relentless stream of mass school shootings, school districts nationwide spend billions of dollars each year on campus security, including on gun-detection hardware. Yet ShotSpotter’s footprint in education remains largely unknown. The locations of the gun-detection sensors in Minneapolis and urban communities nationwide have for years been intentionally hidden.
In the leaked contracts, Minneapolis school officials agreed to withhold from the public information about its participation in the surveillance program. Details about the sensor locations, officials agreed, “cannot be disclosed under any circumstances.”
In Minneapolis, campus ShotSpotter locations were uncovered during The 74’s investigation into the fallout from the February cyber attack. Highly sensitive information about students and educators, as well as confidential campus security information, were published online in March after the district failed to pay the Medusa cyber gang’s $1 million ransom demand.
ShotSpotter’s efforts to thwart bloodshed from gun violence is commendable, said Teresa Nelson, the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota. But, she said, privacy and racial disparities in ShotSpotter locations, as well as reports calling into question the sensors’ effectiveness, outweigh their potential benefits. And efforts to withhold the school district’s ShotSpotter agreement from the public, stifle resident’s ability to engage in conversations about how to keep their communities safe, Nelson said.
Ultimately, “it adds a layer to the idea of policing in our schools” that could be problematic, she said. ShotSpotter coverage of schools, she worried, could send police who are “ready for an extremely dangerous confrontation” to campuses “for no reason” due to false alarms from fireworks, backfiring cars and other loud noises.
“That changes the tenor of policing in that area,” she said. “Police have tremendous power and so the community is entitled to know how they’re using that power and how they’re using new technologies that allow them to effectively conduct general mass surveillance.”
The Minneapolis school district didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment. The district has been criticized for not sharing more information with the public about the nature and extent of the breach — its most recent statement on its website is from April 11. It declined interview requests from The 74 for a May 15 investigation about the breach of closely guarded campus security information and didn’t respond to questions for a May 5 article on the leak of highly sensitive information about students and staff.
In an email, Minneapolis Police Department spokesperson Garrett Parten declined to disclose the number of ShotSpotter sensors deployed across Minneapolis, adding that the company selects installation locations. The technology, he said, “has been an excellent tool in aiding the quick location of shooting victims” so they can receive medical attention “when seconds count.”
“In general, ShotSpotter pinpoints the location of gunfire,” Parten said. “This allows officers to respond directly to a location rather than doing a grid search looking for evidence. As such, Officers are able to quickly locate and secure evidence that might otherwise be removed, compromised, or missed altogether.”
Thomas Chittum, the senior vice president of analytics and forensic services at ShotSpotter owner SoundThinking, said the data breach in Minneapolis is a rare occurrence but the publicly traded company is taking the incident seriously. Though the sensors are regularly placed on municipal buildings like police departments and schools, he declined to specify how many are stationed on campuses in Minneapolis or nationwide. Sensor locations are confidential, he said, to prevent vandalism, retaliation against businesses and agencies that agree to host the devices, and efforts by gunmen to get around the system.
“Now that these things are known publicly, we have to assess whether or not we think it poses a risk to the efficacy of the system,” said Chittum, who retired last year as acting deputy director of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. “The sensors are not hard to relocate but we’ll have to assess whether or not that’s feasible and necessary.”
Few arrests, little evidence of gun-related crimes
Researchers and civil rights groups have warned for years that the technology, which is disproportionately deployed in communities of color, could do more harm than good by routinely sending militarized police into high alert over false alarms. SoundThinking maintains that its ShotSpotter sensors are 97% accurate.
The most comprehensive study on ShotSpotter’s efficacy, published in 2021 in the peer-reviewed Journal of Urban Health, reported dismal findings. The analysis of ShotSpotter in 68 metropolitan counties from 1999 to 2016 found the sensors had no significant impact on firearm-related homicide rates or arrest outcomes.
ShotSpotter deployments have been especially contentious in Chicago, where the sensors are disproportionately installed in neighborhoods with large percentages of Black residents. In more than 31,000 incidents each year, ShotSpotter alerts send Chicago police to locations where they failed to find evidence of gun crimes, according to research by the MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern University’s law school. Between April 2021 and April 2022, researchers found, 90% of ShotSpotter dispatches failed to find evidence of guns. In a 2022 lawsuit, the group accused the city of relying on a surveillance tool that enables discriminatory policing without a clear public safety benefit.
A separate report from the city’s Office of Inspector General, published in 2021, reached similar results, concluding that the alerts rarely produced evidence of gun-related crimes, investigatory stops or recovered firearms. Yet the sensors led police to make more aggressive stops in certain neighborhoods, the office found, offering fodder for advocates who argue the devices lead to the over-policing of Black residents.
In a company-funded report by Edgeworth Analytics, researchers called the MacArthur analysis “misleading” and concluded that, “based on client reports,” ShotSpotter sensors were 97% effective in detecting gunfire.
Chittum said the sensor locations are selected based on historical crime data and rejected advocates’ concerns over racial disparities.
“The people that balk at the idea that you would deploy public safety infrastructure in the place where it could do the greatest good boggles my mind,” he said. “Of course you’re going to deploy it in the place where it’s most likely to help the people that have had the greatest impact from gun violence. I just don’t understand why you wouldn’t want law enforcement to know about shootings that occur in those neighborhoods.”
While the City of Chicago has long been a key ShotSpotter customer and former Democratic mayor Lori Lightfoot called the tool “a lifesaver,” that could soon change. New progressive Mayor Brandon Johnson campaigned on a promise to end the city’s $33 million ShotSpotter contract, vowing to instead “invest in new resources that go after illegal guns without physically stopping and frisking Chicagoans on the street.” After Johnson’s election, the company’s stock prices tumbled more than 25%.
After weighing the costs against their benefits, officials in several cities — including San Antonio, Texas, and Charlotte, North Carolina — have ended their ShotSpotter subscriptions. In San Antonio, officials spent more than $500,000 for the sensors, an expenditure that led to four arrests and seven weapons seizures in a two-year period.
Similarly in Minneapolis, ShotSpotter alerts have rarely led to arrests or evidence of gun-related crimes, according to a local television news investigation. An analysis found that Minneapolis police responded to about 8,500 ShotSpotter activations from January 2020 to September 2021. About 80% of the time, police didn’t locate evidence of a gun-related crime and only 32 activations — less than 1% of the total — led to an arrest.
On one occasion, in 2012, the city temporarily disabled the sensors on New Year’s Eve because the system became overwhelmed by alerts from the blasts of fireworks.
‘Still losing our young people’
The six Minneapolis campus ShotSpotter locations disclosed in the breach are clustered in the city’s northside. Districtwide, about a third of Minneapolis students are Black. At the campuses where ShotSpotter sensors were disclosed, nearly two-thirds of students are Black.
The roughly 33,000-student district operates just shy of 100 schools. It’s unclear whether the devices were placed at a limited number of district locations or whether information about other campuses that serve as ShotSpotter hosts were spared in the data leak. Though police said ShotSpotter alerted them to the recent drive-by shooting — along with calls from educators — the leaked contracts don’t outline a sensor location at the district’s administrative offices.
While the specific locations of ShotSpotter sensors citywide haven’t been publicly disclosed, residents are well aware of their presence in certain neighborhoods, said Marika Pfefferkorn, a Twin Cities-based student privacy advocate and executive director of the Midwest Center for School Transformation. Yet the devices, she said, haven’t done enough to keep people safe.
“It’s not preventing the shots (from being) fired,” Pfefferkorn said. “We’re still losing our young people.”
In Minneapolis, homicides have surged by 166% since 2019 and the number of gunshot victims has more than doubled, according to city data. More than four-fifths of shooting victims in the city are Black, according to the data, as are 89% of suspects.
Outside Minneapolis, three school districts — one in Texas and two in Massachusetts — have purchased ShotSpotter services, according to GovSpend.
In 2021, the Newark, New Jersey, school district agreed to install the sensors on 30 school buildings in predominantly Black neighborhoods, according to a Chalkbeat investigation. Information about the agreement was removed from the school system’s website after the school board received an email inquiry from the education news outlet.
In a 2022 email also exposed in the Minneapolis data breach, a ShotSpotter employee declined to disclose to a school district facilities official the on-campus locations of its sensors, arguing that could allow the information to “fall into the wrong hands.”
“If the location of all sensors became known to the public,” the employee wrote, “criminals would have the capability to disable the gunshot location and detection functionality of the system, or otherwise seriously compromise the law enforcement utility of the system.”
As communities nationwide debate efforts to bolster security in school buildings, parents are demanding a seat at the table, said Kenneth Trump, president of the Cleveland-based National School Safety and Security Services.
“Parents expect authentic, transparent communication from school officials,” he said. When schools and cities equip communities with emerging security technology, officials “had better be transparent about expectations and limitations, and I’m not sure that’s occurring.”
Ultimately, it’s up to the City of Minneapolis to assess whether the sensors work as intended, said Nelson of the ACLU’s Minnesota chapter.
“Without strict limitations and auditing, we can never really be certain that it’s not being abused,” she said. “There needs to be more transparency and more assurances that it’s not going to be abused.”
submitted by Raiden720 to gamefaqs261 [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 18:57 MC_475 Repostei aqui porque o Portugal Caralho não gostou

Repostei aqui porque o Portugal Caralho não gostou submitted by MC_475 to NaBoaChavaloRetardado [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 18:44 TheWeeklyProgress Week in Review for June 2, 2023

UVa alumna claims professor groomed, sexually assaulted her
A 2020 University of Virginia graduate has accused one of her former professors of grooming, sexually assaulting and initiating an inappropriate romantic relationship during her tenure at the university, which began in 2018.
A celebration of life held for 13-year-old struck and killed by baseball On a stormy Memorial Day, family, friends, teammates and more gathered at Ting Pavilion and celebrated the life of Calvin Ness, the 13-year-old Buford Middle School student who was hit in the head with a ball before a community baseball game on May 8 and died two days later.
Charlottesville-based bodybuilding coach indicted on child exploitation charges
Elliot Atwell has built a following over the years as a trainer to male bodybuilders and fitness models, often working virtually with clients across the country and becoming something of a “godfather of the teen aesthetic,” as one online commenter put it.
Saving the spies: Albemarle County floats $58M land deal to preserve Rivanna Station
“We gather to take an action on what may be the most significant economic development activity ever for Albemarle County.”
Charlottesville leads state in early voting
No primary in the state has had more votes cast early, either by mail or in person, than the race to determine the Democratic nominee in Senate District 11, which runs along Route 29 from the northern edge of Albemarle County to just outside of Lynchburg.
Should a fading Coca-Cola 'ghost sign' be brought back to life?
On the side of the building fronted by Oyster House Antiques in downtown Charlottesville is a faded and peeling mural that once proclaimed, “Delicious and Refreshing. Drink Coca-Cola. 5¢ Sold everywhere.”
Albemarle County schools announces changes to bus service
Still facing a bus driver shortage, Albemarle County Public Schools has announced some early changes to bus routes as it prepares for the upcoming academic year: adjusting some schedules, reducing some services and consolidating some stops.
Veritas Vineyard, Quirk Hotel targets of Insta scam
“We’re never going to be asking for your credit card information. All we are going to be asking for is an email address so we can send the tickets to you.”
This Memorial Day, a soldier is home after 7 decades
U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class James Allen Coleman, known to family members and friends as Jimmie, was reported missing in action on April 25, 1951, near Chipori, South Korea, after an enemy mortar shell explosion during action in the Korean War.
Albemarle Symphony Orchestra grants Crozet pianist a 'wish of a lifetime'
June Andrews has spent a lifetime preparing her piano students to reach for their dreams. During Saturday evening’s Albemarle Symphony Orchestra concert, she will be fulfilling one of her own.
Even with so many options available, getting your news can be a challenge. The Weekly Progress is here to help. Here is a roundup of some of the week’s biggest stories from The Daily Progress, Charlottesville’s news of record and a resource for the community since 1892.
Check Reddit every Friday for a weekly digest of the most-read and most-shared stories from The Daily Progress.
submitted by TheWeeklyProgress to Charlottesville [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 15:42 Wasted-perspective I've sold my dead dads car but still registered as owner

right so I sold the car march 28th to some Irish guy. I remember doing the online dvla thing to declare it sold but I guess it didn't go through or something, I've given him the new keeper slip and went on my way. I received a £75 fine in the post for driving in a bus lane in Cambridgeshire despite never driving a car, never having a drivers licence or knowing where cambridgeshire is. I've contacted the County Council I received the letter from and the dvla, but the dvla said there's nothing to be done I just need to register it as sold but i can't remember the guys details and I don't know what to do about it. I know I'll probably get called dumb but I just really need help with it, I have bad brain fog from medical complications with chemo and would really just appreciate advice. I have his number but it's just sending me straight to voicemail.
I live in the West Midlands in England.
submitted by Wasted-perspective to LegalAdviceUK [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 11:34 MC_475 D'uma nova vida, vida

D'uma nova vida, vida submitted by MC_475 to namesoundalikes [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 07:30 lolguy1720 debian vnc error

New Xtigervnc server 'localhost.localdomain:1 (root)' on port 5901 for display :1. Use xtigervncviewer -SecurityTypes VncAuth -passwd /tmp/tigervnc.CrEJG2/passwd :1 to connect to the VNC server.
=================== tail /root/.vnc/localhost.localdomain:1.log =================== [mi] mieq: warning: overriding existing handler (nil) with 0x300015ad10 for event 2 [mi] mieq: warning: overriding existing handler (nil) with 0x300015ad10 for event 3 system message bus already started; not starting.. libmutter-Message: 05:24:33.675: Running GNOME Shell (using mutter 43.4) as a X11 window and compositing manager Xlib: extension "DPMS" missing on display ":1".
Fri Jun 2 05:24:34 2023 ComparingUpdateTracker: 0 pixels in / 0 pixels out ComparingUpdateTracker: (1:nan ratio) Xlib: extension "DPMS" missing on display ":1".
** (gnome-shell:1817): WARNING **: 05:24:34.733: ATK Bridge is disabled but a11y has already been enabled.
(gnome-shell:1817): Gjs-CRITICAL **: 05:24:35.926: JS ERROR: Gio.DBusError: Error calling StartServiceByName for org.freedesktop.login1: Launch helper exited with unknown return code 1 _injectToMethod/klass[method]@resource:///org/gnome/gjs/modules/core/overrides/Gio.js:287:25 _makeProxyWrappe<@resource:///org/gnome/gjs/modules/core/overrides/Gio.js:264:17 [email protected]:///org/gnome/shell/misc/loginManager.js:94:23 [email protected]:///org/gnome/shell/misc/loginManager.js:82:29 [email protected]:///org/gnome/shell/ui/background.js:265:41 [email protected]:///org/gnome/shell/ui/background.js:235:4 [email protected]:///org/gnome/shell/ui/background.js:612:30 [email protected]:///org/gnome/shell/ui/background.js:784:49 [email protected]:///org/gnome/shell/ui/background.js:710:37 [email protected]:///org/gnome/shell/ui/layout.js:469:27 [email protected]:///org/gnome/shell/ui/layout.js:515:34 [email protected]:///org/gnome/shell/ui/layout.js:576:14 [email protected]:///org/gnome/shell/ui/layout.js:321:14 [email protected]:///org/gnome/shell/ui/layout.js:194:4 [email protected]:///org/gnome/shell/ui/main.js:221:21 [email protected]:///org/gnome/shell/ui/main.js:186:5 @resource:///org/gnome/shell/ui/init.js:6:17

** Message: 05:24:35.927: Execution of main.js threw exception: Module resource:///org/gnome/shell/ui/init.js threw an exception

Session startup via '/root/.vnc/xstartup' exited with status 1!
Maybe try something simple first, e.g., tigervncserver -xstartup /usbin/xterm The X session exited with status 1!
That showed when i run vncserver in debian
can someone help me to fix that?
Distro info debian 11 de: gnome 41.1 wm: mutter
Xstartup file:


export XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP="GNOME" service dbus start gnome-shell --x11
It works previously in debian but now not
submitted by lolguy1720 to termux [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 05:23 PlanesandWhisky Can we be real about the 2023 presidential election for a moment...

TLDR: I cannot be the only person who sees this.... Biden is too old and frail, a bit shady, and his VP is clueless and completely unqualified.... Trump is a criminal and also too old and unfit for office and totally corrupt.... Can we please please please get a couple of reasonable candidates to vote for... literally any regular ass American would be better.
Let's start out with my intention. I would love for this post to get 69 million 420 thousand upvotes... but seriously, I want as many people as possible to see this because the media is starting to make me feel like I am the only person who sees that this election cycle is nuts.
This Presidential election is looking to be a choice between two terrible options... I will outline all of my demographics followed by my thoughts and I would really like to hear some alternative opinions because as a regular ass voter, I see nothing but terrible options from the two parties and I am starting to feel like I am the only one who sees that the current political landscape is a total shit show.
Demographics: Ethnicity: Caucasian Gender: Male Age: 35 Occupation: Military Officer Education: BS (it was a bullshit degree but also a bachelor of science) Relationship: Married (divorced once but I deserved it. I was a total shithead the first time) ... happy to provide any other demographics but at the end of the day I am a regular American with a regular salary, a regular job, a regular everything else.
Biden Let me start off by admitting that I was wrong about this guy. I voted for him in the last election because I felt like President Trump was unstable as fuck and presidential policy should not be posted on social media or be based on how one man is feeling that particular day. Biden promised a lot, I didn't expect much from him, to be honest, but I had hoped that we would at least get a president who was able to fill the role at a basic level. I was not looking for Teddy Roosevelt or Abraham Lincoln. I was simply hoping for a President who would show up to work, have a reasonable foreign policy, who would put some pressure on the corporations and their CEOs making millions of dollars, and who would address the issues that the majority of Americans were dealing with like student loans, health care, unfair taxes, and loopholes that benefit the 1% and fuck the 99%. End of the day I was hoping that he would look out for the 99 and not the 1%. So far we have got some good and bad in terms of policy... he got us out of the war in the middle east even though that was completely fucked up... poor planning... total rush to failure. Thank God that more people were not killed or injured and God bless those service members who sacrificed all for this shitty plan, they were patriots and I am thankful every day that we have Americans like them willing to "stand the watch." He got some relief for parents who could use the help financially when times were tough during covid but he totally fucked it up when he fumbled the ball when it came to supporting the unions like the rail workers, amazon, etc, he fucked up student debt relief (we shouldn't ONLY forgive loans...we need to address the outrageous price tag on education in addition to the loans)... He appointed Mayer Pete who had one job as Transportation Secretary and totally fucked that up by prioritizing his image over actually dealing with airline travel (I am a pilot so a bit read in on this topic... he screwed the pooch on this one), trains, and the supply chain.... he also has been a bit short sided on Ukraine support.... (Ukraine deserves independence but there needs to be an explanation of what we are getting as taxpayers for our money... Please explain to me what the return on investment is for the billions we are spending. I do not have an issue with spending our tax dollars on helping make the world a better place but I need to know how my $50B+ is making a difference before you spend it.) Also his sons.... Beau was a naval officer who allegedly did a bunch of drugs.... should have been booted out of the military and Hunter absolutely took dirty money and it was all covered up. President Biden may not have been involved in any of that but at the end of the day, all of the sins of his sons were covered up for the benefit of their father.
Trump As a white male military officer, I thought I was definitely a Republican before this guy came into office. I mean come on, I was basically their prime demographic. At least that is what I was told my whole adult life. I was unsure when he was elected as I thought this was a publicity stunt. Then he put "Mad Dog" Mattis in office as the Sec Def and I thought "America, Fuck YEA!" he had a bunch of crazy ass tweets and I wrote most of them off because I trusted that General Mattis and the rest of the cabinet would keep the country on the right track. And then he fired Mattis. This was the point when I realized this dude is a sociopath who only cared about being "right". He gave no fucks about what the correct decision was... all he wanted was to be "right." The most respected military General since Colin Powel was fired/resigned from the office of Sec Def under President Trump.... This was shocking. But who knows what happened behind closed doors.... perhaps this was for the best. Then the election and Jan 06. And since then this dude has been the sorest loser I have ever seen. It has been 3 years and he is still talking about how the election was stolen and if you disagree with him he will blackmail you into agreeing with him or he will support your opposition candidate. Fuck this dude. That is not how democracy works..... I do not disagree with his foreign policy as a military officer... He made some solid decisions regarding China and his critique of NATO was not completely incorrect. He said things and made decisions that others were afraid to say and do and I was into it but he also said and did things that was I absolutely not into... if you want America's help then there has to be some benefit to the American taxpayer... if you want to fuck around and find out with OPEC and your pilot students shooting up an American Military Base... then enjoy fighting your wars with Iran on your own.... I full-heartedly believe that the American Tax Payer should see a return on investment for their taxes but President Trump seems to only actually give a shit about his own personal gain. Let's not be naive, his son-in-law totally got paid off by Mohammed bin Salman. He 100% had the support of the Putin regime. He gave himself and his buddies tax breaks that he did not afford the 99%. He said a lot of crazy shit. This guy is nuts and doesn't give two shits about the 99%. He will gladly give you a MAGA hat for your donation but when it comes to actual policy, he has shown that he will take your money, put some in his own pocket, some in the pockets of his friends, and then give you just a little bit back so that you feel like you got the good end of the deal.....The average American made much less than the 1%... he gave you some back in covid relief to make you forget that you were getting royally fucked.
I am not running for president but if I was this would be my platform... in other words, this would be the platform that I wish we could vote for!
There are a lot of other policies that we can go through here and no POTUS is going to have all the answers (that's why he or she needs a strong cabinet). I hope that there is some discussion started here... but at the end of the day.... the two candidates that we are likely looking at are both unfit. We deserve some quality candidates and not the old crazy reality TV star and the Old washed-up politician with a terrible VP. Give me someone reasonable to vote for, please!
submitted by PlanesandWhisky to ForUnitedStates [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 03:03 Sulyjnr12 Northwestern Roleplay New Fivem Server, looking for department heads, staff members, and much more, join below!

Northwestern Roleplay New Fivem Server, looking for department heads, staff members, and much more, join below!
Northwestern Roleplay
Hello and welcome to Northwestern Roleplay! We are a new and active GTA 5 Fivem Roleplay community that is economy based with a great community! We are always recruiting new people to our community staff team and our whitelisted departments! Why should you join? Great question! You should join NWRP because we think of the server as not just the owner's server or our own server but the community's server and the server for everyone in which people can take part in many different aspects of the server, from our Fivem server and discord server, to our sense of community with community events. NWRP, is a fivem server that has both Miami city and New York City programmed onto the same map. This means you could be roleplaying in Miami one day and get a flight or a boat to New York and roleplay in New York the next day! We also offer a range of opportunities to have fun through our whitelisted departments:
- Fire and Ems
- Our Police Departments: Miami Dade County Sheriffs Office and NYPD
- Certified Civilian
- Dispatch and communications
- Server staff team
And much more! Join today and you can become a member of one of these whitelisted departments, or you can just be an average member!
Perm Invite:
submitted by Sulyjnr12 to FiveMRPServers [link] [comments]

2023.06.02 03:01 Sulyjnr12 New Fivem Server! 2 cities, Miami and New York in the same server!

New Fivem Server! 2 cities, Miami and New York in the same server!
Northwestern Roleplay
Hello and welcome to Northwestern Roleplay! We are a new and active GTA 5 Fivem Roleplay community that is economy based with a great community! We are always recruiting new people to our community staff team and our whitelisted departments! Why should you join? Great question! You should join NWRP because we think of the server as not just the owner's server or our own server but the community's server and the server for everyone in which people can take part in many different aspects of the server, from our Fivem server and discord server, to our sense of community with community events. NWRP, is a fivem server that has both Miami city and New York City programmed onto the same map. This means you could be roleplaying in Miami one day and get a flight or a boat to New York and roleplay in New York the next day! We also offer a range of opportunities to have fun through our whitelisted departments:
- Fire and Ems
- Our Police Departments: Miami Dade County Sheriffs Office and NYPD
- Certified Civilian
- Dispatch and communications
- Server staff team
And much more! Join today and you can become a member of one of these whitelisted departments, or you can just be an average member!
Perm Invite:
submitted by Sulyjnr12 to FiveMServers [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 22:24 datguySC1 Riverside County CCW

So I guess here’s the celebratory CCW post for an easy process! I will be sharing my timeline to help others that have applied or are curious about the process for their CCW in Riverside County.
Applied: 4/17/23 check back every day for new opening on the reschedule feature in order tracker for sooner appointment dates My original interview date was for 6/24/23 and rescheduled for 5/11/23
Qualification completed on 4/22/23 at Defensive Tactics and Firearms in Fallbrook
Interview completed 5/11/23 took a total of 2 minutes over the phone.
Lives can completed at RSO substation at Promenade Temecula on 5/14/23 CA: cleared 5/14 FBI: cleared 5/14 Firearms: cleared 5/17
Final approval for CCW license 5/29/23
All in all a very simple process and hats off to Sheriff Bianco for simplifying the process. My one recommendation to anyone is have all your ducks in a row prior to your interview to make everything go smoothly. Patience is key!
Hope this helps anyone that is curious and/or has already applied.
submitted by datguySC1 to CAguns [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 21:52 Faction_Chief /r/news -

submitted by Faction_Chief to NoFilterNews [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 21:33 datguySC1 Riverside County CCW

So I guess here’s the celebratory CCW post for an easy process! I will be sharing my timeline to help others that have applied or are curious about the process for their CCW in Riverside County.
Applied: 4/17/23 check back every day for new opening on the reschedule feature in order tracker for sooner appointment dates My original interview date was for 6/24/23 and rescheduled for 5/11/23
Qualification completed on 4/22/23 at Defensive Tactics and Firearms in Fallbrook
Interview completed 5/11/23 took a total of 2 minutes over the phone.
Lives can completed at RSO substation at Promenade Temecula on 5/14/23 CA: cleared 5/14 FBI: cleared 5/14 Firearms: cleared 5/17
Final approval for CCW license 5/29/23
All in all a very simple process and hats off to Sheriff Bianco for simplifying the process. My one recommendation to anyone is have all your ducks in a row prior to your interview to make everything go smoothly. Patience is key!
Hope this helps anyone that is curious and/or has already applied.
submitted by datguySC1 to CCW [link] [comments]

2023.06.01 21:24 RandomAppalachian468 Don't fly over Barron County Ohio. [Repost]

The whirring blades of my MD-902 throbbed against the warm evening air, and I smiled.
From 5,000 feet, the ground flew by in a carpet of dark forests and kelly-green fields. The sun hung low on the horizon in a picturesque array of dazzling orange and gold, and I could make out the narrow strip of the Ohio River to my left, glistening in the fading daylight. This time of year, the trees would be full of the sweet aroma of fresh blossoms, and the frequent rains kept small pockets of fluffy white mist hanging in the treetops. It was a beautiful view, one that reminded me of why being a helicopter pilot trumped flying in a jumbo jet far above the clouds every day of the week.
Fourteen more days, and I’m debt free.
That made me grin even more. I’d been working as a charter pilot ever since I obtained my license at age 19, and after years of keeping my nose to the grindstone, I was closing on the final payment for real-estate in western Pennsylvania. With no debt, a fixer-upper house on 30 rural acres all to myself, and a respectable wage for a 26-year-old pilot, I looked forward to the financial freedom I could now enjoy. Maybe I’d take a vacation, somewhere exotic like Venice Italy, or the Dominican Republic. Or perhaps I’d sock the money back for the day I started a family.
“Remember kleineun, a real man looks after his own.”
My elderly ouma’s voice came back from the depths of my memories, her proud, sun-tanned face rising from the darkness. She and my Rhodesian grandfather had emigrated to the US when they were newlyweds, as the violence against white Boer descendants in South Africa spiraled out of control. My mother and father both died in a car crash when I was six, and it had been my grandparents who raised me. Due to this, I’d grown up with a slight accent that many of my classmates found amusing, and I could speak both English, and Afrikaans, the Boer tongue of our former home.
I shifted in my seat, stretched my back muscles, and glanced at the picture taped to my console. Both my parents flanked a grinning, gap-toothed six-year-old me, at the last Christmas we’d spent together. My mother beamed, her dark hair and Italian features a sharp contrast to my father’s sandy blonde hair and blue eyes. Sometimes, I liked to imagine they were smiling at me with pride at how well I flew the old silver-colored bird my company had assigned to me, and that made the long, lonely flights easier to bear.
A flicker caught my eye, and I broke my gaze away from the photograph.
Perched in its small cradle above the controls, my little black Garmin fuzzed over for a few seconds, its screen shifting from brightly colored maps to a barrage of grey static.
Did the power chord come loose?
I checked, ensuring the power-cable for the unit’s battery was plugged into the port on the control panel. It was a brand-new GPS unit, and I’d used it a few times already, so I knew it wasn’t defective. Granted, I could fly and navigate without it, but the Garmin made my time as a pilot so much easier that the thought of going blind was dreadful.
My fuel gauge danced, clicked to empty, then to full, in a bizarre jolt.
More of the gauges began to stutter, the entire panel seeming to develop terrets all at once, and my pulse began to race. Something was wrong, very wrong, and the sludge inside my bowels churned with sour fear.
“Come on, come on.” I flicked switches, turned dials, punched buttons, but nothing seemed to fix the spasming electronics. Every gauge failed, and without warning, I found myself plunged into inky darkness.
Outside, the sun surrendered to the pull of night, the sky darker than usual. A distant rumble of thunder reverberated above the roar of my helicopter’s engine, and I thought I glimpsed a streak of yellowish lightning on the far horizon to my left.
Calm down Chris. We’re still flying, so it must just be a blown fuse. Stay in control and find a place to set her down.
My sweaty palm slid on the cyclic stick, and both feet weighed heavy on the yaw pedals. The collective stuck to my other hand with a nervous vibration, and I squinted against the abyss outside.
I jumped despite myself, as the little Garmin on my panel flared back to life, the static pulling aside to reveal a twitching display. Each time the screen glitched, it showed the colorful map detailing my flight path over the ground below, but I noticed that some of the lines changed, the names shifting, as if the device couldn’t decide between two different versions of the world.
One name jutted out at me, slate gray like most of the major county names, appearing with ghostly flickers from between two neighboring ones.
Barron County.
I stared, confused. I’d flown over this section of southeastern Ohio plenty of times, and I knew the counties by heart. At this point, I should have been over the southern end of Noble County, and maybe dipping lower into Washington. There was no Barron County Ohio. I was sure of it.
And yet it shown back at me from the digital landscape, a strange, almost cigar-shaped chunk of terrain carved from the surrounding counties like a tumor, sometimes there, sometimes not, as my little Garmin struggled to find the correct map. Rain began to patter against my cockpit window, and the entire aircraft rattled from a strong gust of wind. Thick clouds closed over my field of vision like a sea of gray cotton.
The blood in my veins turned to ice, and I sucked in a nervous breath.
Land. I had to land. There was nothing else to do, my flight controls weren’t responding, and only my Garmin had managed to come back to life. Perhaps I’d been hit by lightning, and the electronics had been fried? Either way, it was too dark to tell, but a storm seemed to be brewing, and if I didn’t get my feet on the ground soon, I could be in real trouble.
“Better safe than sorry.” I pushed down on the collective to start my slow descent and clicked the talking button for my headset. “Any station, this is Douglass Three-One-Four-Foxtrot, over.”
“Any station, this is Douglass Three-One-Four-Foxtrot, requesting emergency assistance, over.”
Still nothing.
If the radio’s dead, I’m really up a creek.
With my hand shaking, I clicked on the mic one more time. “Any station, this is—”
Like a curtain pulling back, the fog cleared from around my window, and the words stuck in my throat.
Without my gauges, I couldn’t tell just how far I’d descended, but I was definitely very low. Thick trees poked up from the ground, and the hills rolled into high ridges with flat valley floors, fields and pastures pockmarking them. Rain fell all around in cold, silvery sheets, a normal feature for the mid spring in this part of Ohio.
What wasn’t normal, were the fires.
At first, I thought they were forest fires for the amount of smoke and flames that bellowed from each spot, but as I swooped lower, my eyes widened in horror.
They were houses.
Farms, cottages, little clusters that barely constituted villages, all of them belched orange flames and black pillars of sooty smoke. I couldn’t hear above the helicopter blades, but I could see the flashes on the ground, along the road, in between the trees, and even coming from the burning buildings, little jets of golden light that spat into the darkness with anger.
Gunfire. That’s rifle fire, a whole lot of it.
Tiny black figures darted through the shadows, barely discernable from where I sat, several hundred feet up. I couldn’t see much, but some were definitely running away, the streaks of yellow gunfire chasing them. A few dark gray vehicles rumbled down one of the gravel roads, and sprayed fire into the houses as it went. They were fighting, I realized, the people in the trucks and the locals. It was horrific, like something out of war-torn Afghanistan, but worse.
Then, I caught a glimpse of the others.
They didn’t move like the rest, who either fled from the dark vehicles, or fired back from behind cover. These skinny figures loped along with haphazard gaits, many running on all fours like animals, swarming from the trees by the dozens. They threw themselves into the gales of bullets without flinching, attacking anyone within range, and something about the way they moved, so fluid, so fearless, made my heart skip a beat.
What is that?
“Echo Four Actual to unknown caller, please respond, over.”
Choking back a cry of shock, I fumbled at the control panel with clumsy fingers, the man’s voice sharp and stern. I hadn’t realized that I’d let go of the talking button and clicked it down again. “Hello? Hello, this is Douglass Three-One-Four-Foxtrot out of Pittsburgh, over.”
An excruciating moment passed, and I continued to zoom over the trees, the fires falling away behind me as more silent forest took over.
“Roger that Douglass Three-One-Four-Foxtrot, we read you loud and clear. Please identify yourself and any passengers or cargo you might be carrying, over.”
Swallowing hard, I eyed the treetops, which looked much closer than they should have been. How far had I descended? “Echo Four Actual, my name is Christopher Dekker, and I am alone. I’m a charter flight from PA, carrying medical equipment for OSU in Columbus. My controls have been damaged, and I am unable to safely carry on due to the storm. Requesting permission to land, over.”
I watched the landscape slide by underneath me, once catching sight of what looked like a little white church surrounded by smaller huts, dozens of figures in the yard staring up at me as I flew over a towering ridgeline.
“Solid copy on that Douglass Three-One-Four-Foxtrot. Be advised, your transponder shows you to be inside a restricted zone. Please cease all radio traffic, reduce your speed, climb to 3,000 feet and proceed north. We’ll talk you in from there. How copy, over?”
My heart jumped, and I let out a sigh of relief. “Roger that Echo Four Actual, my altimeter is down, but I’ll do my best to eyeball the altitude, over.”
With that, I pulled the collective upward, and tried my best to gauge how far I was by eyesight in the gathering night, rain still coming down all around me. This had to be some kind of disaster or riot, I decided. After all, the voice over the radio sounded like military, and those vehicles seemed to have heavy weapons. Maybe there was some kind of unrest going on here that I hadn’t heard about yet?
Kind of weird for it to happen in rural areas though. Spoiled college kids I get, but never saw farmers get so worked up before. They usually love the military.
Something moved in the corner of my eye, and I turned out of reflex.
My mouth fell open, and I froze, unable to scream.
In the sky beside me, a huge shadow glided along, and its leathery wings effortlessly carved through the gloom, flapping only on occasion to keep it aloft. It was too dark for me to see what color it was, but from the way it moved, I knew it wasn’t another helicopter. No, this thing was alive, easily the size of a small plane, and more than twice the length of my little McDonald Douglass. A long tail trailed behind it, and bore a distinct arrow-shaped snout, with twig-like spines fanned out around the back of its head. Whatever legs it had were drawn up under it like a bird, yet its skin appeared rough and knobby, almost resembling tree bark. Without pause, the gigantic bat-winged entity flew along beside me, as if my presence was on par with an annoying fly buzzing about its head.
Gripping the microphone switch so tight, I thought I’d crack the plastic, I whispered into my headset, forgetting all radio protocol. “T-There’s something up here.”
Static crackled.
“Douglas Three-One-Four-Foxtrot, say again your last, you’re coming in weak and unreadable, over.”
“There’s something up here.” I snarled into the headset, still glued to the controls of the helicopter, afraid to deviate even an inch from my course in case the monstrosity decided to turn on me. “A freaking huge thing, right beside me. I swear, it looks like a bat or . . . I don’t know.”
“Calm down.” The man on the other end of the radio broke his rigorous discipline as well, his voice deep, but level. “It won’t attack if you don’t move too fast. Slowly ease away from it and follow that course until you’re out of sight.”
I didn’t have time to think about how wrong that sounded, how the man’s strict tone had changed to one of knowledge, how he hadn’t been the least surprised by what I’d said. Instead, I slowly turned the helicopter away from the huge menace and edged the speed higher in tiny increments.
As soon as I was roughly two football fields away, I let myself relax, and clicked the mic switch. “It’s not following.”
“You’re sure?”
Eyeing the huge flapping wings, I nodded, then remembered he couldn’t see me. “Yeah, I’m well clear.”
“Good. Thank you, Mr. Dekker.”
Then, the radio went dead.
Something in my chest dropped, a weight that made my stomach roil. This wasn’t right, none of it. Who was that man? Why did he know about the thing I’d just seen? What was I supposed to—
A flash of light exploded from the trees to my right and shot into the air with a long finger of smoke.
What the . . .
On instinct, I jerked the cyclic stick to one side, and the helicopter swung to avoid the rocket.
My world shook, metal screeched, and a dozen alarms began to go off inside the cockpit in a cacophony of beeps and sirens. Orange and red flames lit up the night sky just behind me, and the horizon started to spin wildly outside. Heat gushed from the cockpit door, and I smelled the greasy stench of burning oil. The safety belts dug into my shoulders, and with a final slip, the radio headset ripped free from my scalp.
I’m hit.
Desperate, I yanked on the controls, fought the bird even as she spun toward the ground in a wreath of flames, the inky black trees hurtling up to meet me. The helicopter went into full auto-rotation, the sky blurring past outside, and the alarms blared in a screech of doom. Panic slammed through my temples, I screamed at the top of my lungs, and for one brief second, my eyes locked on the little black Garmin still perched atop my control panel.
Its screen stopped twitching and settled on a map of the mysterious Barron County, with a little red arrow at the center of the screen, a few words popping up underneath it.
You are here.
Trees stabbed up into the sky, the belts crushed at my torso, glass shattered all around me, and the world went dark.
Copper, thick, warm, and tangy.
It filled my mouth, stank metallic in my nose, clogged my throat, choking me. In the murkiness, I fought for a surface, for a way out, blind and numb in the dark.
This way, kleineun.
My ouma’s voice echoed from somewhere in the shadows.
This way.
Both eyes flew open, and I gagged, spitting out a stream of red.
Pain throbbed in my ribs, and a heavy pressure sent a tingling numbness through my shoulders. Blood roared inside my temples, and stars danced before my eyes with a dizzying array. Humid night air kissed my skin, and something sticky coated my face, neck, and arms that hung straight up toward the ceiling.
Wait. Not up. Down.
I blinked at the wrinkled, torn ceiling of the cockpit, the glass all gone, the gray aluminum shredded like tissue paper. Just outside the broken windows, thick Appalachian bluegrass and stemmy underbrush swished in a feeble breeze, backlit by flashes of lightning from the thunderstorm overhead. Green and brown leaves covered everything in a wet carpet of triangles, and somewhere nearby, a cricket chirped.
Turning my head from side to side, I realized that I hung upside down inside the ruined helicopter, the top half burrowed into the mud. I could hear the hissing and crackling of flames, the pattering of rain falling on the hot aluminum, and the smaller brush fires around the downed aircraft sizzling out in the damp long grass. Charred steel and burning oil tainted the air, almost as strong as the metallic, coppery stench in my aching nose.
They shot me down. That military dude shot me out of the sky.
It didn’t make sense. I’d followed their orders, done everything they’d said, and yet the instant I veered safely away from whatever that thing in the sky had been, they’d fired, not at it, but at me.
Looking down (or rather, up) at my chest, I sucked in a gasp, which was harder to do that before.
The navy-blue shirt stuck to my torso with several big splotches of dark, rusty red. Most were clean slashes, but two held bits of glass sticking out of them, one alarmingly bigger than the other. They dripped cherry red blood onto my upturned face, and a wave of nausea hit me.
I gotta get down.
I flexed my arms to try and work some feeling back into them, praying nothing was broken. Half-numb from hanging so long, I palmed along my aching body until I felt the buckled for the seat belts.
“Okay.” I hissed between gritted teeth, in an effort to stave off my panic. “You can do this. Just hold on tight. Nice and tight. Here we go . . .”
Everything seemed to lurch, and I slid off the seat to plummet towards the muck-filled hole in the cockpit ceiling. My fingers were slick with blood and slipped over the smooth faux-leather pilot’s seat with ease. The shoulder belt snagged on the bits of glass that lay just under the left lowest rib, and a flare of white-hot pain ripped through me.
I screamed, my right knee caught the edge of the aluminum ceiling, and both hands dove into a mound of leaf-covered glass shards on the opposite side of the hole. My head swam, being right-side-up again enough to make shadows gnaw at the corner of my eyes.
Forcing myself to breath slowly, I fought the urge to faint and slid back to sit on the smooth ceiling. I turned my hands over to see half a dozen bits of clear glass burrowed into my skin like greedy parasites, red blood weeping around the new cuts.
“Screw you.” I spat at the rubbish with angry tears in my eyes. “Screw you, screw you, screw you.”
The shards came out easy enough, and the cuts weren’t that deep, but that wasn’t what worried me. On my chest, the single piece of cockpit glass that remined was almost as big as my palm, and it really hurt. Just touching it felt like self-inflicted torture, but I knew it had to come out sooner or later.
Please don’t nick a vein.
Wiping my hands dry on my jeans, I gripped the shard with both hands, and jerked.
Fire roared over my ribs, and hot blood tickled my already grimy pale skin. I clapped a hand over the wound, pressing down hard, and grunted out a string of hateful expletives that my ouma would have slapped me for.
Lying on my back, I stared around me at the messy cargo compartment of the MD-902. Most of the medical supplies had been in cardboard boxes strapped down with heavy nylon tow-straps, but several cases had ruptured with the force of the impact, spraying bandages, syringes, and pill bottles all over the cluttered interior. Orange flames chewed at the crate furthest to the rear, the tail section long gone, but the foremost part of the hold was intact. Easily a million-dollar mess, it would have made me faint on any other trip, but today it was a godsend.
Half-blind in the darkness, I crawled along with only the firelight and lightning bolts to guide me, my right knee aching. Like a crippled raccoon, I collected things as I went, conscious of the two pallets of intact supplies weighing right over my head. I’d taken several different first-aid courses with some hunting buddies of mine, and the mental reflexes kicked in to help soothe my frazzled mind.
Check for bleeds, stop the worst, then move on.
Aside from my battered chest and stomach, the rest of me remained mostly unharmed. I had nasty bruises from the seatbelts, my right knee swelled, my nose slightly crooked and crusted in blood, but otherwise I was intact. Dowsing every scratch and cut with a bottle of isopropyl alcohol I found, I used butterfly closures on the smaller lacerations that peppered my skin. I wrapped soft white gauze over my abused palms and probed at the big cut where the last shard had been, only stopping when I was sure there were no pieces of glass wedged inside my flesh.
“Not too bad.” I grunted to myself, trying to sound impassive like a doctor might. “Rib must have stopped it. Gonna need stitches though. That’ll be fun.
Pawing through the broken cases, I couldn’t find any suture chord, but just as I was about to give up, I noticed a small box that read ‘medical skin stapler’.
I tore the small white plastic stapler free from its packaging and eyeballed the device. I’d never done this before, only seen it in movies, and even though the cut in my skin hurt, I wondered if this wouldn’t be worse.
You’ve gotta do it. That bleeding needs to stop. Besides, no one’s coming to rescue you, not with those rocket-launching psychos out there.
Taking a deep breath, I pinched the skin around the gash together, and pressed the mouth of the stapler to it.
A sharp sting, like that of a needle bit at the skin, but it didn’t hurt nearly as bad as the cut itself. I worked my way across the two-inch laceration and gave out a sigh of relief when it was done.
“Not going to bleed to death today.” I daubed ointment around the staples before winding more bandages over the wound.
Popping a few low-grade painkillers that tumbled from the cargo, I crawled wriggled through the nearest shattered window into the wet grass.
Raindrops kissed my face, clean and cool on my sweaty skin. Despite the thick cloud cover, there was enough constant lightning strikes within the storm to let me get glimpses of the world around me. My helicopter lay on its back, the blades snapped like pencils, with bits and pieces of it burning in chunks all around the small break in the trees. Chest-high scrub brush grew all around the low-lying ground, with pockets of standing water in places. My ears still rang from the impact of the crash, but I could start to pick up more crickets, frogs, and even some nocturnal birds singing into the darkness, like they didn’t notice the huge the hulk of flaming metal that had fallen from the sky. Overhead, the thunder rumbled onward, the feeble wind whistling, and there were other flashes on the horizon, orange and red ones, with crackles that didn’t sound quite like lightning.
The guns. They’re still fighting.
Instinctively, I pulled out my cellphone, and tapped the screen.
It fluttered to life, but no matter how I tried, I couldn’t get through to anyone, not even with the emergency function designed to work around having no service. The complicated wonder of our modern world was little better than a glorified paperweight.
Stunned, I sat down with my back to the helicopter and rested my head against the aluminum skin of the craft. How I’d gone from a regular medical supply run to being marooned in this hellish parody of rural America, I didn’t know, but one thig was certain; I needed a plan. Whoever fired the missile could have already contacted my charter company and made up some excuse to keep them from coming to look for me. No one else knew I was here, and even though I now had six staples holding the worst of my injuries shut, I knew I needed proper medical attention. If I wanted to live, I’d have to rescue myself.
My bag. I need to get my go-bag, grab some gear and then . . . head somewhere else.
It took me a while to gather my green canvas paratrooper bag from its place behind the pilot’s seat and fill it with whatever supplies I could scrounge. My knee didn’t seem to be broken, but man did it hurt, and I dreaded the thought of walking on it for miles on end. I focused instead on inventorying my gear and trying to come up with a halfway intelligent plan of action.
I had a stainless-steel canteen with one of those detachable cups on the bottom, a little fishing kit, some duct tape, a lighter, a black LED flashlight with three spare batteries, a few tattered road maps with a compass, a spare pair of socks, medical supplies from the cargo, and a simple forest green plastic rain poncho. I also managed to unearth a functioning digital camcorder my ouma had gotten me for Christmas a few years back, though I wasn’t sure I wanted to do any filming in such a miserable state. Lastly, since it was a private supply run from a warehouse area near Pittsburgh to a direct hospital pad in Ohio, I’d been able to bring my K-Bar, a sturdy, and brutally simple knife designed for the Marine Corps that I used every time I went camping. It was pitiful in comparison to the rifle I wished I had with me, but that didn’t matter now. I had what I had, and I doubted my trusty Armalite would have alleviated my sore knee anyway.
Clicking on my flashlight, I huddled with the poncho around my shoulders inside the wreck of the chopper and peered at the dusty roadmaps. A small part of me hoped that a solution would jump out from the faded paper, but none came. These were all maps of western PA and eastern Ohio. None of them had a Barron County on them anywhere.
The man on the radio said to head north, right before they shot me down. That means they must be camped out to the north of here. South had that convoy and those burning houses, so that’s a no-go. Maybe I can backtrack eastward the way I came.
As if on cue, a soft pop echoed from over the eastern horizon, and I craned to look out the helicopter window, spotting more man-made flashes over the tree tops.
“Great.” I hissed between clenched teeth, aware of how the temperature dipped to a chilly 60 degrees, and how despite the conditions, my stomach had begun to growl. “Not going that way, are we? Westward it is.”
Walking away from my poor 902 proved to be harder than I’d anticipated. Despite the glass, the fizzling fires, and the darkness, it still held a familiar, human essence to it. Sitting inside it made me feel secure, safe, even calm about the situation. In any other circumstance, I would have just stayed with the downed aircraft to wait for help, but I knew the men who shot me down would likely find my crash site, and I didn’t want to be around when they did.
Unlike much of central and western Ohio, southeastern Ohio is hilly, brushy, and clogged with thick forests. Thorns snagged at my thin poncho and sliced at my pant legs. My knee throbbed, every step a form of self-inflicted torture. The rain never stopped, a steady drizzle from above just cold enough to be problematic as time went on, making me shiver. Mud slid under my tennis shoes, and every tree looked ten times bigger in the flickering beam of my cheap flashlight. Icy fear prickled at the back of my neck at some of the sounds that greeted me through the gloom. I’d been camping loads of times, both in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, but these noises were something otherworldly to me.
Strange howls, screeches, and calls permeated the rain-soaked sky, some almost roars, while others bordered on human in their intonation. The more I walked, the softer the distant gunfire became, and the more prevalent the odd sounds, until the shadows seemed to fill with them. I didn’t dare turn off my flashlight, or I’d been completely blind in the dark, but a little voice in the back of my head screamed that I was too visible, crunching through the gloomy forest with my long beam of light stabbing into the abyss. It felt as though a million eyes were on me, studying me, hunting me from the surrounding brush, and I bitterly recalled how much I’d loved the old Survivor Man TV series as a kid.
Not so fun being out in the woods at night. Especially alone.
A twig snapped somewhere behind me, and I whirled on the spot, one trembling hand resting on the hilt of my K-Bar.
Nothing. Nothing but trees, bushes, and rain dripping down in the darkness.
“This is stupid.” I whispered to myself to keep my nerves in check as I slowly spun on the spot. “I should have went eastward anyway. God knows how long I’m going to have to—”
A groan of metal-on-metal echoed from somewhere to my right, and I spun to face it, yanking the knife on my belt free from its scabbard. It felt so small and useless in my hand, and I choked down a wave of nauseas fear.
Ka-whump. Creak. K-whump. Creak.
Underbrush cracked and crunched, a few smaller saplings thrashed, and from deep within the gloom, two yellow orbs flared to life. They poked through the mist in the trees, forming into slender fingers of golden light that swept back and forth in the dark.
The soldiers . . . they must be looking for me.
I swallowed hard and turned to slink away.
Ice jammed through my blood, and I froze on the spot, biting my tongue to stop the scream.
It stood not yards away, a huge form that towered a good twelve feet tall in the swirling shadows. Unpolished chrome blended with flash-rusted spots in the faded red paint, and grime-smeared glass shone with dull hues in the flashes of lightning. Where the wheels should have been, the rounded steel axels curved like some enormous hand had bent them, and the tires lay face-down on the muddy ground like big round feet, their hubcaps buried in the dirt. Dents, scrapes, and chips covered the battered thing, and its crooked little radio antenna pointed straight up from the old metal fender like a mast. I could barely make out the mud-coated VW on the rounded hood, and my mind reeled in shock.
Is . . . is that a car?
Both yellow headlights bathed me in a circle of bright, blinding light, and neither I nor the strange vehicle moved.
Seconds ticked by, the screech-thumping in the background only growing closer. I realized that I couldn’t hear any engine noises and had yet to see any soldiers or guns pointed my way. This car looked old, really old, like one of those classic Volkswagen Beetles that collectors fought over at auctions. Try as I might, I couldn’t see a driver inside the murky, mold-smeared windows.
Because there wasn’t one.
Lightning arched across the sky overhead, and the car standing in front of me blinked.
Its headlights slid shut, as if little metal shades had crawled over the bulbs for a moment and flicked open again. Something about that movement was so primal, so real, so lifelike, that every ounce of self-control I had melted in an instant.
Cursing under my breath, I lunged into the shrubs, and the world erupted around me.
Under my shoes, the ground shook, and the car surged after me in a cacophony of ka-thumps that made my already racing heart skip several beats. A weather-beaten brown tow truck from the 50’s charged through the thorns to my left, it’s headlights ablaze, and a dilapidated yellow school bus rose from its hiding place in the weeds to stand tall on four down-turned axel-legs. They all flicked their headlights on like giants waking from their slumber, and as I dodged past them, they each blared their horn into the night in alarm.
My breaths came short and tight, my knee burned, and I crashed through thorns and briars without thought to how badly I was getting cut up.
The cheap poncho tore, and I ripped it away as it caught on a tree branch.
A purple 70’s Mustang shook off its blanket of creeping vines and bounded from a stand of trees just ahead, forcing me to swerve to avoid being run over, my adrenaline at all-time highs.
This can’t be happening, this can’t be happening, this can’t be happening.
Slipping and sliding, I pushed through a stand of multiflora rose, and stumbled out into a flat, dark expanse.
I almost skidded to a stop.
What had once been a rather large field stood no taller than my shoestrings, the grass charred, and burnt. The storm above illuminated huge pieces of wreckage that lay scattered over the nearly 40-acre plot, and I could just make out the fire-blackened hulk of a fuselage resting a hundred yards away. The plane had been brought down a while ago it seemed, as there weren’t any flames left burning, and I threw myself toward it in frenzied desperation.
Burned grass and greasy brown topsoil slushed underfoot, and I could hear the squelching of the cars pursing me. Rain soaked me to the bone, and my lungs ached from sucking down the damp night air. A painful stich crept into my side, and I cursed myself for not putting in more time for cardio at the gym.
Something caught my left shoelace, and I hurtled to the ground, tasting mud and blood in between my teeth.
They’ve got me now.
I clawed at the mud, rolled, and watched a tire slam down mere inches from where my head had been. The Mustang loomed over me and jostled for position with the red Volkswagen and brown tow truck, the school bus still a few yards behind them. They couldn’t seem to decide who would get the pleasure of stomping me to death, and like a herd of stampeding wildebeest, they locked bumpers in an epic shoving match.
On all fours, I scampered out from under the sparring brutes, and dashed for the crumpled airplane, a white-painted DC-3 that looked like it had been cut in half by a gargantuan knife blade. I passed a snapped wing section, the oily remains of a turbo-prop engine, and a mutilated wheel from the landing gear. Climbing over a heap of mud, I squeezed into the back of the ruined flight cabin and dropped down into the dark cargo hold.
No sooner had my sneakers hit the cold metal floor, and the entire plane rocked from the impact of something heavy ramming it just outside. I tumbled to my knees, screaming in pain as, once again, I managed to bash the sore one off a bracket in the wall.
My hand smeared in something gooey, and I scrabbled for my flashlight.
It clicked on, a wavering ball of white light in the pitch darkness, and I fought the urge to gag. “Oh man . . .”
Three people, or what was left of them, lay strewn over the narrow cargo area. Claret red blood coated the walls, caked on the floor, and clotted under my mud-spattered shoes. Bits of flesh and viscera were stuck to everything, and tatters of cloth hung from exposed sections of broken bone. An eerie set of bloody handprints adorned the walls, and the only reason I could tell it had been three people were the shoes; all of them bore anklebones sticking out above blood-soaked socks. It smelled sickly sweet, a strange, nauseas odor that crept into my nose and settled on the back of my tongue like an alien parasite.
Something glinted in the beam of my flashlight, and my pulse quickened as I pried the object loose from the severed arm that still clung to it.
“Hail Mary full of Grace.” I would have grinned if it weren’t for the fact that the plane continued to buck and roll under the assault from the cars outside.
The pistol looked old, but well-maintained, aside from the light coating of dark blood that stained its round wooden handle. It felt heavy, but good in my hand, and I turned it over to read the words, Waffenfabrik Mauser stenciled into the frame, with a large red 9 carved into the grip. For some reason, it vaguely reminded me of the blasters from Star Wars.
I fumbled with a little switch that looked like a safety on the back of the gun and stumbled toward a gap in the plane’s dented fuselage to aim out at the surrounding headlights.
The old gun bucked reliably in my hand, its long barrel spitting a little jet of flame into the night. I had no idea if I hit anything, but the attacking cars recoiled, their horns blaring in confusion.
They turned, and scuttled for the tree line as fast as their mechanical legs could go, the entire ordeal over as fast as it had begun.
Did I do that?
Perplexed, I stared down at the pistol in my hand.
A large, inky black shadow glided down from the clouds, and the yellow school bus moved too slow to react in time.
With a crash, the kicking nightmarish vehicle was thrown onto its side, spraying glass and chrome trim across the muddy field. Its electro-synth horn blared with wails of mechanical agony, as two huge talon-like feet clamped down on it, and the enormous head of the flying creature lowered to rip open its engine compartment.
The horn cut out, and the enormous flying entity jerked its head back to gulp down a mass of what looked like sticky black vines from the interior of the shattered bus.
At this range, I could see now that the flying creature bore two legs and had its wings half-tucked like a vulture that had descended to feed on roadkill. Its head turned slightly, and in the glow of another lightning bolt, my jaw went slack at the realization of what it was.
A tree trunk. It’s a rotted tree trunk.
I couldn’t tell where the reptilian beast began, and where the organic tree components ended, the upper part of the head shaped like a log, while the lower jaw resembled something out of a dinosaur movie. Its skin looked identical to the outside of a shagbark hickory but flexed with a supple featheriness that denoted something closer to skin. Sharp branch-like spines ranged down its back, and out to the end of its tail, which bore a massive round club shaped like a diseased tree-knot. Crouched on both hind legs, it braced the hooked ends of its folded wings against the ground like a bat, towering higher than a semi-truck. Under the folds of its armored head, a bulging pair of chameleon-like eyes constantly spun in their sockets, probing the dark for threats while it ate.
One black pupil locked onto the window I peered through, and my heart stopped.
The beast regarded me for a moment, with a curious, sideways sniff.
With a proud, contemptful head-toss, the shadow from the sky parted rows of razor-sharp teeth to let out a roar that shook the earth beneath my feet. It was the triumphant war cry of a creature that sat at the very top of the food chain, one that felt no threat from the fragile two-legged beings that walked the earth all around it. It hunted whenever it wanted, ate whatever it wanted, and flew wherever it wanted. It didn’t need to rip the plane apart to devour me.
Like my hunter-gatherer ancestors from thousands of years ago, I wasn’t even worth the energy it would take to pounce.
I’m hiding in the remains of the cockpit now, which is half-buried under the mud of the field, enough to shield the light from my screen so that thing doesn’t see it. My service only now came back, and it’s been over an hour since the winged beast started in on the dead bus. I don’t know when, or how I’m going to get out of here. I don’t know when anyone will even see this post, or if it will upload at all. My phone battery is almost dead, and at this point, I’m probably going to have to sleep among the corpses until daylight comes.
A dead man sleeping amongst friends.
If you live in the Noble County area in southeastern Ohio, be careful where you drive, fly, and boat. I don’t know if it’s possible to stumble into this strange place by ground, but if so, then these things are definitely headed your way.
If that happens . . . pray that they don’t find you.
submitted by RandomAppalachian468 to u/RandomAppalachian468 [link] [comments]