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**Authors Note:  This chapter contains cussing.  I have also rewritten this chapter with the help of a friend who pointed out some unnecessary issue I created.  Thanks JDT for your help.  Chapter 18 will be reposted in the near future, completely revamped!

New to the story? Start reading here: Prologue

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July 29, 2012 1000

My first words this morning weren’t pleasant.
Something like "What the fuck are you talking about?" 

Doc and Shelley sat next to me by the fire and told me I was missing twenty-four hours.  I didn’t know what to say.  I’ve lost that amount of time and don’t know why.  I don’t know what happened.  Or what happened to the rest of the team.  My friends, my charges, my family.  We were all missing time.

I never uttered a word after my outburst.  I looked at the two of them, got up and walked away.  Went and found Bryson.  He looked like warmed over split pea soup.  We sat down and I told him what Doc and Shelley told me.  His response was similar to mine.

Michelle came over then and she looked much better.  She said what we saw traumatized us so much, she couldn’t do anything about it.  No matter what happened.  She learned to accept it.

That is, until Bryson and I filled her in.  Michelle got totally confused about how we lost so much time.  I asked her to grab Tyler so we could talk it over.  I would’ve gotten him myself, but didn’t think he wanted to talk to me at all.  I was right and wrong.  When he and Michelle came back, he took one look at me and called me an asshole.

Bryson asked Tyler what all the hostility was about and Tyler railed about the images he couldn’t get out of his head.  He blamed me because he figured I had to know what was happening in the cities.  Once Bryson explained we all had the same problem, Tyler apologized.  Those haunting images of the walking dead in the streets that torment his soul.

We filled Tyler in about the missing time and he was at a loss just like the rest of us.  Bryson mentioned chemicals but only his suit was torn.  Someone mentioned the Earth of it’s axis but that didn’t make much sense. 

We saw the glow of the sun’s glow the whole time we were in the city so we knew that much time hadn’t passed.  What the fuck?!?

July 29, 2012 1600

For fun this afternoon I played tag with the kids.  It was so much fun I would give anything to do it again.  I sat down to catch my breath and watch the kids screaming and hollering as they ran through the camp.  One little kid, named Brian, ran around screeching and the sound reminded me of Terre Haute.  Reminded me of those things, shuffling through the streets.  All I could remember was that horrific mewling sound they made.  The sound

July 29, 2012 1900 Shelley

Grey has been unconscious for nearly three hours now.  One of the children ran up to the Doc and me screaming about how Mr. Grey went to sleep and then fell over.  Doc thinks it is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) but he can’t be sure.  Grey appears to be breathing OK but he won’t wake up no matter what we try.

I’ll be back.  One of the guards sent a runner for me and Bryson.  Something is happening on the road…

July 29, 2012 2000 Tyler

I followed Bryson and Shelley to the guard post to see what was going on.  When we got there I saw one of the oddest things I’ve seen since the war.  A man, I think, in a monk’s robe standing at the median.  He was stood there with his arms out to his side like he was inviting us to frisk him.

Bryson and I approached him not believing what we were witnessing.  He looked like a grasshopper standing there.  Why a grasshopper?  Because he wore an olive drab CBR suit just like the ones we wore into Terre Haute.

As we got closer, he reached up and flipped the robe hood back and removed the CBR suit mask.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw Bryson twitch his MP-5 up to the ready.

Then we came face to face with the monk.  He smiled and introduced himself, “Good evening gentleman.  My name is Brother Nathan and I mean you no ill will.  I am only here to help.”

“I’m Bryson and this is Tyler.  How can I help you?”  The monk just smiled.  Then he chuckled and reached up to the side of his tonsured head and removed ear plugs.  Ear plugs of all things. 

“My apologies gentleman, but if you think about it, you will have an answer to your missing time.”

Bryson and I froze.  How did he know about the missing time?

July 29, 2012 2340 Tyler

We invited Brother Nathan in to sit and speak around the fire with us so we could figure out what he knew about Terre Haute.  We talked for almost two hours.  He was absolutely the most polite man I have ever met. 

Brother Nathan witnessed everything that happened to us.  Including when we passed out.  He opened his palm to show us the his ear plugs. “You didn’t have these did you?”   He could tell by the looks on our faces we didn’t.  Not only did we not have them, we had no idea why we would need them.

“The only thing that can penetrate one of these suits is sound, my friends.  A certain sound you must not focus on.”

As soon as he said it, I started thinking about it — just like he said not to.  The mewling sound.  That repetitious mewling sound of those poor unfortunates.

The next thing I remember, I’m being slapped.  My eyes popped open and Brother Nathan was staring deep into my eyes.  As I focused, I noticed Bryson had a handgun pointed at Nathan, unsure of his intentions.

“For the rest of this night you must not think of that sound,” commanded Brother Nathan. “It is bad enough that Grey is unconscious, your friends do not need you passed out also.  Sleep my friends.  We have a busy morning in front of us.  I can help cure your minds of this evil and perhaps shed some light on what has happened, but you must get some rest before we can begin our arduous task in the morning.”

Chapter 18

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