Afflictions: Part Twelve

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Jude sat in the passenger seat of Guillermo’s pickup, and watched the alternating fields and trees pass by. The even rumble of the car pushed him closer to nodding off. Everyone had talked a little at the start, but they’d been driving for a couple of hours, so the conversation died off. The radio was playing music earlier, but now it was just quite static.

Jude noticed a sort of dirt road breaking off of the interstate into a field. Off in the distance, he saw it led to a large white tent. That was easily the most interesting thing he’d seen in the last half hour, so he considered it for a moment. It was probably some kind of surveyors or something along those lines.

The radio began to switch from static to a man speaking. It was incomprehensible for a minute, but eventually it became clear enough.

“…And that’s the crux of my argument, Frank. I’m just not sure why we seem to be ignoring this. It clearly lines up with the scriptures of Revelations, the green light, the green horse of death. These supers are the fourth horseman, and we seem to just be welcoming death into our midst. You know what comes after the fourth horseman? The antichrist, and judgement day.”

“So, what’s the answer then, reverend? What do we do?” Another man spoke.

“Well, it’s a hard question to answer, Frank. I think we both know the answer, though. I’m not saying we should round them up or anything, but maybe some kind of monitoring. We’re talking about a quarter of life on earth, here. The DSR just isn’t enough. We need-”

Guillermo shut off the radio, and gave a halfhearted laugh. “I think that’s enough of that.”

Jude nodded, and glanced back at Zoey. She was looking out the window, and seemed a little glum. He was used to this kind of thing by now, but he figured it had to be hard on a kid like her. “Well, I’m really grateful you guys don’t mind me tagging along.”

“We’re really glad to have you, Jude.” Guillermo smiled.

“I’m not sure why Paul seemed so insistent on me going, but it’ll probably be good to get away from things. I haven’t had a vacation in forever.”

“We don’t go too often, but dad’s road trips are the best.” Zoey smiled. “I think a road trip is the best kind of vacation. Everybody gets to do something they’re excited about.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever been on anything I could call a road trip before, so you’ll have to show me the ropes.”

“Don’t worry, we’ll go easy on you.” Guillermo laughed.

“I wish Arte could’ve come too…” Zoey sighed.

“Well, Paul seemed pretty insistent that everybody else should remain home, so I hope I’ll be good enough.” Jude laughed.

“I didn’t mean it like that!” Zoey hurriedly replied, before sighing, “Jeez, quit messing with me.”

“Sorry,” Jude laughed. “So, Zoey. What are you most excited about? St. Louis?”

“Hmm.” Zoey thought for a moment. “I don’t know really. I think I’m happy just to spend time with you guys.”

“Aww, how-”

“No, actually hold on.” Zoey interrupted. “Dad, you said your friend has horses right?”

“He’s got a whole farm, horses included.”

“Yeah, I’m pretty hyped to ride a horse.” Zoey smiled.

Jude laughed. “So how do you know this guy again?”

“Well, he was my boss when we were younger. He managed a small store. He sent me a letter a couple of months ago inviting me, my family, and any friends I like to stay a week at his farm. He wanted to catch up.” Guillermo replied, glancing briefly at Jude, then back at the road. “He was a good friend. He helped me stay on the right path.”

“Sounds interesting. I don’t think I’ve every stayed on a farm before.” Jude thought for a moment. He never really left Gainesville, except for the one time his mom took him to Disney World. That’s the only vacation he’s ever been on.

“I don’t think I have either.” Guillermo replied. “I’ve mostly stayed in Atlanta, except on the few road trips I take with Zoey. We followed the Braves around for a week one time.”

“I think Jessica said he has family who owns land somewhere in North Georgia…” Zoey looked back out the window.

“Oh? Jessica, huh?” Guillermo thought for a moment. “I don’t think you’ve mentioned her before. Who’s that?”

“Just a friend…” Zoey didn’t turn from the window.

“Glad to hear you’re making new friends.” He smiled, but Jude thought he looked a little worried.

Zoey had been acting a little sluggish since that whole thing happened in California. She’d gone on a couple of missions since then, and they both went well, but she just seemed to be tired. He hoped he wasn’t pushing her too hard. He figured a vacation should definitely help. Absolutely free of worries about school and being a super, she can just be a kid. Arte had said to make sure she gets the break she needs, and he intended to do that.

It seemed the DSR was planning for his role to be mostly keeping up the public image of supers. He did a lot of public appearances, and speeches at schools and things. He did still do missions every now and then, but he’d only done three, and he had the entire team with him, which felt like overkill for the kinds of missions he got. One had been a robbery, and felt more like a PR stunt than a mission.

Regardless, he was on vacation now. He intended to relax and not do any work. Of course if something happened, he’d help, but he didn’t really think anything would. It didn’t feel like too much of anything happened these days.

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Happy Pride traveler! I just released an album! Here’s all my links. You can also find it under the music tab in my navigation bar. I’m not sure exactly how much I’m going to do with this, but I had fun making it. If you’re here for my writing, don’t worry. I will still be uploading Earth 2, I’m just doing a little bit of rebranding as I combine more projects with this blog.

This does mean that there is now a way to directly financially support me! Just buy or stream my album! I’m going to look at a few things this weekend. I still have aspirations to set up a patreon and a kofi/paypal link or something, but I’m slightly busy right now, so don’t hold out hope for the patreon.

Photo Credit: Original

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