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There exist in the world a number of people who have decided they can no longer wait for humanity to implode. They know if they wait for a great political or spiritual leader to rise up, it will simply be too late.

With the corruption buried within the government, and the threats emanating from political and civil groups against any supposedly decent people, normal and peaceful life in the twenty-first century could likely soon be coming to an end—unless someone begins to take drastic measures. However, among the so-called peace loving people of the world, most don’t accept, or even believe in, the terror soon to be coming.

There are, however, some people who want to either fight the evil or to expose it, to warn people of the coming chaos. These men and women have learned, or are willing to learn, of the evils facing mankind and the many ways the world system is promoting the terror, and how to help innocent people get out of the path of the rampaging forces. They have become willing to stand in the face of any and all opposition to let people know the truth.

These people are everywhere, and they are nowhere. The average person never sees them, never pauses to think about them. Average people are so busy trying to cope with their own lives that they have no knowledge of these hidden people.

These people have been called to be Watchmen.


The young wolf crawled slowly, dragging her back legs as best she could, not giving up but almost gone. She had run across the end of the canyon where the men were shooting and one had snapped off a quick shot at her, hitting her in the hips. She had rolled over and over from the impact, then had pulled herself into the brush before collapsing. Now the dying was coming to an end.

The male had been out of sight when the shooting took place, but he had stayed with her over the time since. This was his mate until death parted them. He would stay with her, hunt for her and bring back food until the pups were weaned and gone. Then the mates would run again.

But not now.

The female could feel that the five pups she carried were dead. The trauma of the shot, then the lack of food and the quiet the den would have provided had caused their lives to come to an end. In her way, she knew she was dying, but she continued to drag herself along. The pond was just around the hillside.

As the wolves reached the shallow water, the female crawled right into it. The water was still cool from the night; it gave her some buoyancy from her terrible burden, and it slacked her thirst. She drank, then simply rested in the water with her head on the bank for more than an hour. The male lay at the pool’s edge after drinking, staying by her side. He, too, somehow knew she was dying, but nothing but more trauma could have caused him to leave her.

Rain clouds drifted overhead, bringing the heat down a bit. Even in the water she could feel it. It didn’t take away the pain, but she lifted her muzzle and breathed the cooler air. The male moved closer and reached out to touch noses. She touched, then gave a little whimper.

The male didn’t know about killing; he just did what he was supposed to do. However, if he could have figured it all out, he would have gladly killed the men who shot his mate. He wouldn’t even have eaten them; just let them lie and rot. Something led him in this primitive thinking. Now he just tried to lend some comfort to his mate.

Finally, she dragged herself out of the pool and up to the boulders of the hillside. She snuggled into a shallow depression in the shade and pulled herself into a tight ball. The male curled up close to her, not really knowing what to do but trying to give some peace. He was quiet as she stopped breathing, then stayed beside her for the rest of the day and night. The next morning he rose and sniffed her. Then he slowly pawed some dirt and leaves trying to cover her.

Finally, he quietly walked away. He would mate again, probably next year, but this part of his life was over.


The old man was mountain tough, bald, fairly tall and rangy. His clothes didn’t really work for the big city, but they kept him warm. He had shaved a couple of days ago, so the stubble wasn’t pronounced, but it showed. His boots were worn but comfortable.

After all the years of sitting silently, conning himself into believing things would sort themselves out, he had finally decided to get on his feet and start walking down the streets trying to tell people the truth. So far he had hit San Francisco and Fresno (he’d been driven out of both places for daring to disrupt people), then Denver (the cop there had been kind enough to give him $20 and say, “Get on a bus for someplace else, pop. There are people here who don’t want you around”), but now he was in D.C. and he figured maybe someone here would listen. He was at the edge of the park near the Memorial. Surely somebody would listen.

It wasn’t too cold here but his eyes were glistening, anyway. He rubbed his coat sleeve over them and pretended it was the smog or something. He wasn’t enjoying doing this, but someone had to. He had to.

He reached out and tried to hand one of his nice flyers to a young lady, looked like an office worker in some fancy place, but she just slapped his hand out of her way. The man behind her, expensive suit and tie, really polished shoes, took the flyer but never looked at it. Just wadded it up and dropped it on the sidewalk. The next man took a quick glance at the old man, then spat on the sidewalk. “Get away from me, creep.”

What was it: maybe three people out of a hundred had actually kept the flyer—at least for a minute or two?

Frank knew he couldn’t stay here much longer. Already two park cops had told him to move on and if they caught him again, he knew it would likely be some kind of arrest and probably jail. He trudged back up the street a bit and sat down under some trees just across from the Memorial. He remembered several old friends who were written on that wall.

He had left his fifteen-year-old truck back at the motel across town and came in on a tourist bus. He opened his backpack and dug out the peanut butter sandwich and took a bite. Took a sip from the bottle of plain old tap water. All he could take the time for now—just bread, PB and water.

The tears were actually running down his cheeks now. His head was bowed and he cried quietly. He had sat like that for fifteen minutes, crying off and on, and listening to the wind in the trees. He lifted his head and watched the traffic flowing by, none of the people having any cares except getting to their jobs or the tourist traps.

He looked up then and saw the policeman walking across the big lawn in his direction with a lovely looking dog. He knew it was all going to come to this. All he wanted to do was warn people about what was coming, but he had known for many years that they weren’t going to listen. They were going to keep running him out of town. “Just don’t hang around our area, old man. Get on down the road.”

He glanced around and saw there was no one near him. He could see the roof of the White House through the tops of the trees, and a bit of the Capital Building over there. The cop and the dog were still fifty yards away. He didn’t want the cop hurt or anything, and certainly not that beautiful dog. That wouldn’t be fair.

But, they were coming for him.

So he reached into his backpack, grabbed the little green strap and gave it a good pull.

The explosion ripped the morning apart. The stuff in the pack really went up. The old man was pretty much unrecognizable. The tree he was sitting under and another one just beside him were suddenly firewood. The last words the old man had cried out were, “Oh, people, people, if only you would have listened. Now you’ve run us all away and your lives are going to be torn from you.”


Several people noted Luke and gave careful sideways glances to see what he was really doing, but nobody approached him. Though he was usually regarded as being quiet and friendly, tonight he gave an aura of being someone to stay away from. People walked around him.

He hadn’t had any intention of attending the party when the invitation arrived, but finally decided to go. He didn't put on any fancy clothes, but had at least showered, managed to change his sweat-stained jeans and work shirt and pulled on some clean clothes. The party was a simple get-together for neighbors around the Durango/Hermosa area, a get-acquainter. Some snacks and drinks, a couple of simple speeches, shake a few hands.

Luke stood against a wall in the Amphitheater in the Durango Recreation Center, staying away from the people. Just watching. Alone.

Earlier that morning, he had received a simple e-mail that said, ‘Frank killed himself a couple days ago. Call me. Jon,’ and he was hurting. People didn’t know why, but right now they just didn't feel comfortable or safe getting close to him.

His mind was drifting back to his work after the Army and, wrapped with the death of Frank, the images were making him sick.

He had been the leader of a party of mercenaries sent into Central Africa to rescue an oilman and his family who had been taken prisoner by the ruling warlord. It had been difficult getting in; first a small ship to just offshore, then rubber boats to get to the beach, and finally a long, hard march to the holding area.

When the group had arranged themselves around the village, maybe a hundred yards away, Luke saw the remains of the wife and two children, butchered and lying beside the oilman who was tied to a post. He was in the process of being ‘necklaced.’ It was a form of torture and execution, common in the area, of a rubber tire, filled with gasoline, being forced around the victim's neck and chest, and being set on fire. Death could take a long time.

When Luke had realized the torch was about to be applied and there was no way to quickly rescue the man, he had raised his rifle and fired once. It was over. Not the pain the man had gone through as he watched his family be slaughtered, but at least the pain to come. The group he was with sprayed the warlord and his troops with massive automatic weapon fire and most would no longer take out their hate and ugliness on innocent people.

He knew Frank had gone through some of the same things.

It had been too late back east, so his reply to Jon was simply, ‘7 a.m. your time.’ He knew if tomorrow wouldn't work, Jon would message back.


“You heard?”

“Yeah, but no details. Do you know anything else about it?”

“No, just that he set off a bomb in a backpack. Did himself, but no one else. Some park police guy was headed his way and got knocked down, but he wasn’t hurt. Nobody else around.”

“How did you hear? Someone from the D.C. police called me about two this morning. I guess Frank had some contact information with him?”

“Yeah, probably. We really hadn’t been in close contact for a while, but he apparently carried our information with him.”

“Are they sure it really was Frank? I mean, with the bomb and all? You know, it looks like it with him having our info, but just wondering.”

“Yeah, they got fingerprints already and they were conclusive. They traced him back to a motel across town and then back to his home in Montana. Lived around Kalispell, near Flathead Lake. I think I remember him talking about that. Moved up there after he retired.”

“But did he leave anything? Anything that said why he went out like that?”

“So far, no one’s said anything. They found the ranch, about twelve hundred acres. Small house about the size for one or two people. But no signs of anyone else there.”

“Yeah, I remember his wife died some years ago. Maybe ten? And I guess he never found anyone else again. Maybe never looked.”

“Yeah, I don’t think he did. He was pretty stuck on Sue. Always did say she was the only girl for him. Usually made it sound like a song.”

“I think he had a little dog. Was it around?”

“No. They said he apparently gave it away to another rancher up there. Seemed like he maybe knew he wasn’t coming back.”

“But no reason why he did it?”

“Nope. It appears that in the short time since then, no one’s found anything.”

“How much did they look? Do you know?”

“No, but I doubt they looked very deep. I don’t think anyone cared about him. You know. Just another crazy old man.”

“What was he doing in D.C.? Does anyone know?”

“Again, nobody really knows. All anyone said is that he was passing out some flyers. He had some more at that motel, but there wasn’t much in them to tell us why.”

“What did they say, Jon?”

“They were really just a short page and the message was about the chaos taking place all over and how it was all going to come down. Not much more. I had one of the deputies read the text to me over the phone and remember one thing that was kind of scary. He apparently had some kind of prophecies, I guess, that talked about the end coming and how it really looks like that’s where we are. The deputy is going to e-mail me a copy of the flyer.”

“Do you think he was trying to tell that to the people? And that they wouldn’t listen?”

“I don’t know. I’d have to look at it a lot closer. It’s hard to think he blew himself up for that.”

“Are they sure he did it himself?  No one else did it for him? Blew him up?”

“No. What I heard was that he was alone. The cop saw him reach into his bag just before he got to him and then he went up. They didn’t find any traces of a radio or receiver in his stuff. No electronics at all. Just him and the bag, and the stuff inside.”

“Have they said what the stuff was?”

“Yeah. What I heard was some form of C-4. Maybe the British PE-4.”

“Huh. I wonder where he got that?”

“From what I heard, they quick searched his cabin and didn’t find any record of it in his stuff. No purchases or anything. Just that he had it. But I guess he did a pretty good job of putting it together. Went off without a hitch and sure did the job.”

“He had used that in the old life, right?”

“Yeah, but that would have been a long time ago. Man, almost fifty years ago. ‘Dunno. Did they even have that back then?”

“Yeah, they did. The British made it in World War II and we had a couple of variants by Vietnam. Originally just C, then variants 2, 3 and 4. But, I think it would still be pretty hard to get it today. Nobody lets it get very far out of their hands.”

“Well, it looks like he had it, though. At least, that’s what the reports are saying.”

“Who are the reports coming from, Jon?”

“The ones I’ve seen are regular newspapers and such, but they’re apparently quoting several police, and even some military sources. The Park Police didn’t know much, but the officials got on it pretty quick and got the sound bites out there quick. You know, explosives in the Capitol and all that.”

After a moment of silence, Jon said, “Frank was a good guy, Luke. He shouldn’t have gone like that. He certainly wasn’t a terrorist. Why would he have taken the stuff to a park like that just to pass out flyers?”

“My feeling, Jon? It sounds like he knew he was going to get picked up or something and wasn’t going to let it happen. Maybe something inside popped and he had enough. Or too much. I don’t really know much about how he was living or what he had gotten involved in, but maybe he was struggling with something?”

Again there was silence, then Jon finally said, “I think maybe I’ll check into it, Luke. Look around a bit and see what else there might be.”

“Yeah, I thought you might. I’ll be on it, too. Let’s keep in touch, okay?”

“Yeah. I’ll send you what I have. If you get anything more, you know my e-mail, right?”

“Got it. I’ll try to look him up through Google or something.”

“Okay. And, yeah, we’ll keep in touch. Send stuff back and forth, okay?”

“Yep. Don’t think we can let this drop. Talk with you later, okay?”

“You know where to get me.”


Jess Carter sat at the long conference table with several others, trying to digest the information being discussed, but also trying to keep his mouth shut. He was management and part of his job was to make things happen as directed, not to dispute them. But this was not sitting well. He was working hard to keep his composure.

His hands felt cold and when he looked at them, he noted they were almost grey. He had been clenching them so tight under the table he had cut off much of the circulation and his fingernails had made deep grooves in his palms. Suddenly he felt real fear. Everyone else appeared to be composed, though quiet, but he could see the stony looks on some faces.

Bluffdale was a monstrous NSA facility that had just been completed and had been designed to basically hold data. More than a million square feet of warehouse and office facilities had been built, then filled with computers and data storage equipment and it was now in the process of storing everything the National Security Agency was plucking out of the ether.

NSA headquarters was back in Fort Meade, Maryland, just northeast of Washington, D.C., and that’s where the main group of searchers and analysts were located. They gathered data world-wide from basically every source there was, spent time analyzing what the data meant and might lead to, then directed the data to storage at Bluffdale. Headquarters was simply running out of space.

Bluffdale, the data storage facility, had been built at Camp Williams, located about twenty-five miles south of Salt Lake City. It was called the Utah Data Center, but just Bluffdale, for short. There were only a few hundred regular employees on the site, however, rumors were that there were also a lot of analysts there and a large part of the work was the gathering of worldwide data, code breaking and analysis itself, apart from what Fort Meade did.

Part of Jess Carter’s job as a manager was to keep the other people working well; part was analysis work itself. Now he was hearing potential orders to go far beyond what he thought he had initially signed on for.

The activity of Bluffdale had initially been ‘preached’ as being extremely beneficial for the United States, and even the world. The data would be able to be pulled as needed to track down suspected criminals and terrorists, all supposedly done under the auspices of warrants and legal overseeing. Now the staff was being directed to begin hooking up to every form of communication there was, from phones to computers to cell phones and other devices to social media accounts everywhere. “Get it all and get it into storage,” was the message. “We’ll sort it all out as we need it later.”

I can’t do this anymore was the thought going through Jess’s mind. He had inquired earlier as to how to move to some other government work, but had basically been denied any consideration. “You’re too important to our work here, Jess, and you’ve received too much training.” What Jess actually felt from the interviews was the message, “You know too much and we can’t let you go.”

Several nights he had gone home from work, stopped for takeout and drinks, then had spent the night agonizing over his decisions.

He finally made his decision. Now, it was time to leave.


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