A Certain Type of Decisive

United States

Just your unfriendly neighborhood disaster, bringing you bi-weekly updates from the bottom of my own shoe!

Message to Readers

Is it cool if I write cult leaders saying mean things about my writing buds? (Sorry Anne) I don't know, but it's too late now because this is the longest piece I've ever published (sorry again) because there was no word limit! I took a couple liberties (sorry for the third time) so it doesn't exactly line up with the dream, but in my story, you're brainwashed, so you're an unreliable narrator- meaning I can do what I want. I haven't actually read Death Comes for the Archbishop, but if it taught a teenage militia to fly a helicopter, it will work as a title for this piece.

Huntresses Come for the Archbishop #42dreams

April 28, 2020

FREE WRITING

4
    "Crete Eakin, do you swear on your life to be Loyal to the Letter of the Law, to the Spirit of the Law, and to the Spirits that guide us?"
    "I am," she answered, taking the phone from the officer's hand. This is what she had wanted, what she had been training for. She had been dreaming of becoming a Huntress for the spirits since she was child.
    The phone she had taken was purely symbolic, of course. She continued to use her normal one, of course. If not for convenience, simply for sentimental value. She remembered all the photos it contained, all the text conversations with her friends, a map of every place she had been, stories and news she had read, her opinions, her purchases- it was the proof that she existed. Proof that she took up space and mattered. When she died, it would be buried with her, so future archaeologists might understand.
    She was a bit emotional that day in the courthouse, thinking about her phone, her training, her accomplishment, but who could blame her? Every little girl wants to become a huntress, to track down criminals, to serve the spirits- being a little emotional when she got there was expected.
    She kept the tears away while on stage, but when she got back to her parents, they came uninhibited. She hugged her parents, her brother, she wished Pepper, her younger sister, was there to see her.  She had died a year ago- killed in bank robbery- the first bank robbery in twenty years, in her first week as an intern. They used to play huntresses as little kids, for hours and hours. The tears of happiness changed to those of grief, but swung quickly back again- she would make Pepper proud today. 
    She looked up on stage, cheering as Stella beamed on stage. She held her phone like a trophy and she didn't quite make it off stage before she started crying. Crete ran up to her, full speed, as they locked into a tight embrace. They kissed a tearful and sweaty kiss. They had made it, through hundreds of classes, thousands of hours of physical training. Thanks to their parents for making them and the spirits for keeping them alive, she thought. Through broken bones and broken hearts, failed assignments and world records, and ten years of stress and nerves, they had made it.
    They were huntresses.
                                             
    Crete knew it was silly that books were banned- everyone knew that. It sounded like something out of a 21st century dystopian novel. The decision was made long before she was born, as an environmental choice. She couldn't believe people used to cut down trees to turn into books- even after the invention of mobile readers. It seemed preposterous to her that past generations were so wasteful, using trees for buildings, for furniture, for toys, and worst of all for something as easily replaceable as books? Now, of course, every story ever written was online, every opinion on anything, from crazy people to geniuses, the most loyal to the spirits and those who rejected their existence, the old, the young- the entire history of the universe could be held in her hand.
    Even though the threat on the environment had been mostly neutralized, the ban on books had never been technically raised. Most offenders were the elderly, though some were just dramatic, pretentious teenagers, hearts set on being different and unique. Either way, they gave up the books to be recycled and got off with a warning or minor fine- sometimes, those teenagers would have their minds made up to go to jail, for the aesthetic of course. Obviously, they were not put in real jails, they were usually just children, after all. They would stay a couple hours until their parents picked them up, in a low security prison. The huntresses never let them stay longer than an afternoon, but would take anyone who wanted to go. Everyone knows going to jail for your beliefs is the highest honor a rebel can have. 

    Crete was well aware of this when she and her team of huntresses went out on a book hunt- a neighbor had reported a couple kids and a senior citizen author. The pair of neighbors had been reporting each other for decades- citations about overhanging leaves and noise complaints. Honestly, Crete didn't even expect to find any books- just a tired grumpy old man and his grandchildren with tablets or maybe registered antique books.    
    The second they stepped foot in West Jackston, she changed her mind. Looking around- oh Spirits, she wasn't in Kansas anymore- it was not a happy looking town. She had grown up in a big city- even in boot camp, it would've been impossible to learn everyone's names. West Jackston was small, but that wasn't what worried her. Everyone was looking at their phones, but that wasn't what worried her. What worried her was that every phone was open to the same page.
    "Stella-" she nudged her partner, gesturing covertly around. Stella's grip tightened on her lance- though it was purely ornamental, huntresses were trained to use anything as a weapon in a pinch.
    "I already know," she said under her breath. West Jackston was the same as it was the last time the huntresses had been there to collect data. 
    They had entered a cult town.

    Though the cult itself was dangerous, Crete was more worried about how dangerous the opposition might be. The cult still had to do paperwork, so they couldn't touch her. Anyone brainwashed by the cult that decided to go against it was extra dangerous- they might lash out at her team. Sitting in the transport vehicle, she thought about the kids. She was so worried for them- what had this place taught them about the world? If they fought against her, she knew she had to fight back, but she was worried they'd get hurt. They'd already been hurt enough- but who knows what kind of corruption was in Jackston's justice system? 
    Stella put her arm over Crete's shoulder. They knew displays of affection were generally looked down upon at work, but their team was just the two of them and Carl, their technologist. Though he was too intimidated by the huntress director to lie if she asked, he was no snitch. He just drove the shuttle.
    "Listen," she said. "I know you're worried about those kids, but right now there's nothing we can do about it right now. We only have the jurisdiction to take those books. As soon as we get back to headquarters, we can report this place for suspicion and we'll sign up to be on the front drop team, okay?"
    Crete leaned her head into Stella for a moment, trying to accept it- but something occurred to her. She sat back up suddenly, narrowly avoiding crashing heads with her. 
    "We only have jurisdiction for the books unless-"
    "Unless?"
    "Unless we see another ongoing crime." Stella's eyes widened and Carl looked back at the pair of them. He, too, had been rather distressed at the thought of arresting brainwashed children. Although, Carl was distressed about a lot of things, like the nature of storm drains and integrity of his kitchen stove. He was a generally anxious man.
    "If we just happen to be a little slower than the suspects-" Crete started.
    "Because, of course, we're unfamiliar with the area."
    "And we happen to start a chase across the entire town, a search in every building-"
    "If in one of those buildings, we accidentally stumble upon evidence of a higher crime, such as, purely an example, extortion, blackmail, and indoctrination- it takes precedence and we'll be forced to call in for back-up," Stella said, knowing Carl was starting to catch the drift. He would not be driving them around today, since the GPS was malfunctioning- it wasn't reading the directions out loud, which wasn't a problem, but it was technically a malfunction. He would just slow them down if he tried to go with them- also true. He was so excited, for the moment, he forgot about being nervous.
    Carl pulled up, next to the house; it definitely had its share of HOA violations. The house had fallen into disrepair, vines growing over the walls, paint peeling from the fences- but it was not empty.He saw eyes, peeking through the blinds before disappearing, curtains closing, but light continued to come through them into the overcast evening.
    The huntresses climbed out, slowly, but not so slow as to draw attention. On the edge of the path to the door, they met eyes, and Stella winked. She stepped out of the way, holding out her hands.
    "After you-"
    "No, I could never," Crete said, over-exaggerating her voice. Carl giggled from the driver's seat, but then looked thoroughly mortified at the fact that a sound had escaped him. He blushed. Crete stood to the side and held out her hands, "After you."
    "Don't be silly, after you, my dear."
    "Well," Crete said, worried the neighbors might notice if they dragged this out too long, "If you absolutely insist."
     They tried to approach the door slowly, but were forced to speed up to a brick walk as a man walking his dog looked up from his phone at them and stared. They tried to ignore him, but his eyes could've been set in stone for how steady his gaze was. They were just glad the transport vehicle had mirrored windows so Carl couldn't freak out and tell the man every secret he's had since he was child.
    "Bureau of Huntress Forces, open up," Crete shouted through the door, following a loud knock. She could hear obvious whispering and a door closing as the old man shuffled to the door.
    "Hello?" he asked. He was a very white old man- short, balding, big tortoiseshell glasses with a neck-strap, thin white hair over yellowing skin with a matching white mustache- he looked kind of like the Monopoly man if he was poor and in a nursing home. He was wearing a bathrobe, but it wasn't hard to see it was a disguise, underneath she could make out a shirt, pants- even suspenders. He was holding a mug, though it was empty.
    "Good evening sir, are you owner of this house?" Stella asked. Crete took out her phone, beginning her notes. The notes of huntress were extensive and learning to do them took up a lot of the training required. She moved quickly, eyes scanning and ears open, taking in every detail and putting it down.
    "Yes, but I don't plan on selling, so if that's what you're after, go ahead and skedaddle."
    "Mr. Kurt, there's been a complaint filed against you that violates a national statute, tell me, do you live alone?"
    "I do- ever since my wife passed away, it's just been me- my daughter visits sometimes- you look so much like her."
He was staring intensely at Crete, she could tell, even without looking away from the phone. Huntresses aren't meant to have cameras on the job, just in case they're tracked, but it's important to keep a near constant log of any civilian interaction, in case they need to go to trial for any reason. Crete had not only done a play by play of the conversation, but drawn a sketch of the man, the home, and the dog walker that had previously walked by. Just in case.
    "Thank you," Stella said, without any trace of emotion. "The charges brought against you aren't very severe, you're reportedly in possession of a book or two."
    "I have books, but I'm a collector!" he said, no longer smiling absently. They knew he was hiding something and despite themselves, they shared a glance. Crete continued to write and he shout indignantly.
    "They are all antiques- and worth more money than you'd earn in a lifetime- no one can take them from me! I have paperwork for every single one, go down to the city hall and check for all care," he sneered.  Crete pulled up a copy of licences, six books: a copy of the Torah, Death Comes for the Archbishop, Peter Rabbit, a collection of love poems in Arabic, The Prince, and the Littlest Prince, also in Arabic.  It was definitely an odd library, but book collectors tend to take whatever they can get their hands on. 
    "Do you mind if we come in, Mr. Kurt?"
    "Why not?"

    There were no other books inside the Kurt house and despite it's size, the pair were able to search quickly and determine there were no other people inside. There was, however, an empty hidden safe, recently emptied of rectangular objects- but technically there was no definitive way to say what they were from. They might've been shipping boxes or footprints from very odd shoes. There was still the obvious possibility that two youths with books had run through his house, leaving the footprints in the mud outside. He was left somewhat bewildered and with a hat tip as they moved on to search the rest of the town- starting at the town Spirit Center.
    "Excuse me, who are you two?"
    "Huntresses S and C," Crete said, as they raised their ceremonial phones, a badge of honor and a sign of authority.  "We're here on reports of possible youth book possession- we need access to your security footage. We don't want them getting themselves into too much trouble."
    "Oh- I know the kids you're talkin' about," the man said. He was the only thing standing between them and the security room and he wasn't very formidable- mentally or physically. Crete assumed he was either a spirit communicator or a security guard- even with years of training it was impossible to tell. "Yeah, that Anne kid- and her little boyfriend, Solomon."
    "What makes you think that?"
    "They was always the weirdest ones- always hangin' out where they shouldn't be, askin' questions, kissin'- well, I just heard they kissin', I ain't ever actually seen it- they might be real weird and not do no kissin' like those weirdos you hear about on the news-"
    He continued to ramble on, looking back at his phone as the huntresses pushed past him, looking into the security footage- accidentally winding it a little farther back than they should've, seeing the ritual of the night before. A gruesome mess I personally don't care to describe, but ended with a dead deer and a lot of people covered in blood. They saw the Communicator, the man just in the doorway, give a sermon in blood.
    "This death is only to tide the spirits over until we find the traitors in our community. When we find the evil spirits, living among us, those setting fires and creating evil thoughts within good people- we will know them because they will not be concerned with their phones, they will not take pleasure in things the good people of this town do- when we find them, we will sacrifice them in the way we have sacrificed this deer! Then! Then we shall be free of this torment!" he shouted. The crowd cheered, though, the huntresses could see the fear behind it. Each one of them was terrified, afraid of being accused, of being murdered in the same way they- including the smallest of children- had witnessed. 
    Stella was quick, as soon as they had seen proof that he had threatened to murder people, she grabbed the man and handcuffed him. Sid McDaniel- they gathered his name to be from the footage- was quickly brought down to the local justice office. He denied that he had broken any laws, coming quietly.
    It wasn't long before the whole town was in a frenzy, following them to the station. When they entered, the local officers seemed hesitant to even touch him. They knew the police were probably corrupt, but if he could be held long enough for the back team of huntresses to arrive, they would be fine. They had training with cults, all they had to do was make sure he didn't say anything- easily accomplished with a huntress issue sphere of silence.
    They didn't count on the whole town knowing sign language- but with cults in the school system, it somehow wasn't surprising. Huntresses were excellent fighters, but when fifty people, including police tackle two unsuspecting women, they have an obvious advantage.

    "Estimated time of arrival on the back-up?" Crete asked.
    "Same as five minutes ago, officer," Carl said uncomfortably, trying to avoid eye contact. He loved his team, but he wasn't very happy with getting arrested- not very happy at all. People had chased him, tackled him out of the transport vehicle, and dragged him to the prison- and it was all very frightening. Carl wanted to help people- he had only joined the huntresses because his brother had been a hunter with them. He didn't want to be in dangerous situations! He didn't want to be in jail!
    Stella could sense his obvious distress. He kept rubbing his arm where he had sustained a bruise from his arrest. She wanted to tell him he was over-reacting, as both Crete and her had sustained far worse injury and the prison was far better than it could've been- but she couldn't. He wasn't trained like them, they had different skill sets. They were huntresses- and he was just a guy. She felt bad for taking him down with her. She put her arm over his shoulder, as she only really knew how to express affection in one way. It seemed to put him in a worse state, but only for a moment before leaning into her. He could understand why Crete felt such solace doing it.
    "Carl, you'll be okay. You're doing fine," she assured him.
    "Thank you, officer, " he said, though his voice still had all the formality of a coworker, Stella was pretty sure he was crying. He wouldn't be the only one. The prison was low security, but in poor condition. It was almost entirely outdoors, a beautiful garden, but no place to sleep if it rained. The kids who had the books had been caught by the local justice officers, including the old man. The townspeople didn't want to put us in here, but they had no other prison. There hadn't been any arrests for violent crime in decades, so only delinquents were in here. You could see the marks they left behind, carvings on the trees, small handprints in cement- this was not a place for those accused of treason. The three of them were sectioned off with a thick clear plastic, soundproof and bulletproof, so they could only watch the people around them. There was a boy, crying, and they wanted to help him but no one would meet their eyes, even if there was a kind smile waiting. 
    Crete and Stella were trained to escape- they already had at least four plans for escape- but they couldn't enact them. Escaping from prison would bring them up on real charges- not ones that could be easily waived by the Bureau of Huntress Forces. They just had to wait for them to get there. However long that was going to take.

    In the end, Crete and Stella were sworn back into the Bureau, dropping all charges by proving their loyalty. Sid was brought to justice, along with the corrupt justice officers. The prisoners were given fair trials and all were eventually released. The drop team brought education supplies and professional therapists into West Jackston, trying to settle the minds of all those afraid and brainwashed by the cult that occupied them. Stella and Crete were on the front line of the drop team, finally helping all the crying kids they could. They went on to hunt down international terrorists, with the help of a newly medicated Carl- and a fixed GPS. 
 

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4 Comments
  • AbiJoy

    CONGRATULATIONS!! u legend uwu


    6 months ago
  • Anne Blackwood

    Results are out! https://writetheworld.com/groups/1/shared/166676/version/327177


    6 months ago
  • Emi

    This sounds like a really fascinating sci-fi story. It would be nice if you expanded it and went into more detail about their backstories and how this government is.


    7 months ago
  • Anne Blackwood

    "that Anne kid" approves! This is very well written; a captivating read.


    7 months ago