The List

They came in the middle of the night. Expletive-screaming teams of jackbooted, black-clad List Enforcers battered down doors. Family pets were shot as Enforcers dispersed to round up sleeping children and parents. Bound and blindfolded, whole families were herded into cattle trucks, crammed in so tight taking a full breath was impossible. The weak and elderly succumbed quickly. They were fortunate.

The wailing of terrified young raised a horrific din. The fear of their parents was palpable. Recent rumors of midnight arrests had been dismissed. The sudden silence of friends thought curious and unconcerning. State-run DNCB News had carried on as if every day were a holiday. But the threats had been real, and the lists.

The unheated, open-sided cattle trucks rendezvoused in Walmart parking lots. They departed in convoys of twenty. The stink of fear and feces, vomit and urine left an odorous trail along the route to roundup zones. The December night froze beard, breath, and spirit.

Once inside the barbed-wire ringed classification areas, men and women were publicly strip-searched and separated into groups. Masked, silent attendants worked with efficiency and speed to distribute thin list-slippers and thinner yellow jumpsuits. Children were corralled by group: infant, adolescent, teenager. The elderly and sick of all ages were grouped together and marched to an Amazon warehouse. Resistance was met with silent force, the bodies carried away with the elderly and sick. The remaining human beings were barcoded with an alphabet of letters and lines on the right forearm and microchipped on the back of the neck. When each group contained a hundred souls it was loaded into the cattle trucks. Again in convoys of twenty, the cattle trucks drove to designated airports where they offloaded their human cattle. Gigantic, windowless cargo aircraft, engines idling, each swallowed five-hundred bound and blindfolded souls and departed, lifting into a star-filled sky that had mesmerized human beings since their knuckles dragged the ground.

14 thoughts on “The List

  1. Situations like the world is in right now are such a great place for good authors to draw from. I was horrified and intrigued. It reads like every Holocaust story I’ve read, a short by Ursula K, and 1984. Well done!!

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      1. As I’ve been reading this in my emails, I had a thought. THIS one would get published, it is so creepy and apocalyptic fiction is a thing. And there is so much anger out there and this story would fit right in a niche. Then, it made me sad to think this. Your other book is so much better. I mean, it is full of depth and color and joy. Then…I thought again and figured if you put this one out there in a series form, the other would eventually be published and your readers would discover you are not just almost like Peretti, but you are a very thoughtful and romantic author as well!!

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      2. You have not read any of Frank Peretti??? He’s scary amazing fun!!!! Christian author- I used to read chapters on Sunday to my boys class and they loved it!

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  2. Will, I love how this started off as almost a piece of historical fiction and then surprised me with details that placed the event in the present day or soon to be present day. I do like your idea of making the POV the bad guys. (Perhaps as a chance for us to see that maybe we aren’t the good guys we may think we are? Once people become dehumanized, anything is possible. That’s scary.)

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    1. Thank you, John. This is my response to the current political and social environment. It’s nearly impossible to separate the two so deeply have they intertwined. We said the Pledge of Allegiance every morning when I was in school. There shouldn’t be an issue with any American school doing that. How we’ve come to this is astonishing and unbelievable. I’m not holding back in this story. Whether it turns into a novel I’m not sure. We’ll see.

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      1. I agree, Will. It is alarming to think about the liberties that can be taken away from us as measures to (1) prevent the spread of Covid-19 and (2) promote domestic peace. If you make people fearful enough, they will agree to almost anything. That’s what I felt this election year was like. “Who can create the most fear?” Not “Who can govern the best?”

        If you need help with some free cover art, let me know!

        I’m imagining a very grungy cover, sort of post-apocalyptic…maybe for a slim, almost journal-like volume (series of volumes?), easily concealed under loose clothing, clothing that was once well-fitting and tailored, but now covering the same person, only they are now overworked and underfed person.

        Looking forward to seeing where this writing adventure take you…and us!

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