Clown World: Book Two…unedited…

Welcome to Clown World.

        The Lurkers are winning. Humanity has gone from being the sole inhabitants of Planet Earth, to a remnant of 174,000 souls left from complete annihilation. We, those who remain, face eternal sleep.

To add to our many troubles, the Lurkers have poisoned the air, an issue we must rectify, if we hope to not only survive-but thrive-and our scientists can’t figure out how to repair it.

 I am Jake Mika Tate. Former daredevil and stuntman, now scout, hunter, gatherer, and protector of my family. My wife Emily, former Hollywood princess and media darling, now mother of two-year-old Akers Tate, warrior princess and counselor to the remnant, follows and encourages me when I succumb to depression.

It wasn’t always like this. Way before the pink-haired, gender-neutral Millennial and the turd brown van with the biological package, things weren’t half bad. Life went on. Sure, we had troubles but none of it consisted of mutated humans with a hunger for flesh.

Even after the biological disaster that spread across the globe and lessened the human population, it wasn’t all bad. Our first encounters with the Lurkers taught us about our enemy. I’d lost my best friend, Ted, in a prolonged skirmish against the beasts, and the human misfits who tracked us down and killed him. 

We learned the habits of our enemies, and we could avoid them for the most part. 

Now, the Lurkers had evolved. They no longer were mindless beasts. Alpha-type Lurkers led them now. I called them Chieftains. These behemoths had an unusual ability to think, strategize, and ambush their prey. 

In the past, Lurkers swarmed their target. They would begin by attacking, slashing, biting, whatever they needed to do to bring down their prey. These Chieftains changed all of that. Instead of a swarm, Lurkers attacked in a controlled pattern. The Chieftains remained in the back, unmoved by the chaos and violence, watching…waiting. 

When the attack ended, the Alphas ate first. The Beta-Lurkers, workers, drones, whatever you want to call them, would back up from their meal and allowed their betters to have first taste. These mutated humans, these vile deformities, they controlled the chaos.

It’s too bad millions of humans died before we figured this out. It began on 01 April 2023, when the Lurkers set off a nuclear weapon on the East Coast. With one press of a button, the Lurkers reduced our numbers by millions overnight. Strong winds pushed the radioactive cloud across our country. More people lost their lives. Fear set in, and rumors began to circulate concerning ‘Lurkers that could think.’

One scientist disagreed. “No Lurker possesses the ability to think,” he raged. We listened to him, why wouldn’t we? He’d attended a prestigious Ivy League school that no longer existed. “They’re dumb animals, former humans with the IQ of a potato! If they did this horrible act, it was not done on purpose-purely accidental.”

We listened because he was much more educated than we all, and he wasted no time in launching into diatribes about how intelligent he was, whether we wanted to hear it or not.

Shortly after his speech, he was mauled and eaten by the Lurkers. They tore him from limb to limb. His last words were: “I can reason with them. I have a degree in ethnics and communication…”

Emily held Akers in her arms, looked at me and said, “Those degrees didn’t help much, did they?”

“Nope, he should have learned to shoot, move, and communicate.”

“Boom, boom,” Akers said. Or he would have if he’d known the words. I wasn’t a mathematician, but I knew we could minus one from our numbers tonight, and it could be chalked up to 21st Century stupidity.

What a time to be alive.

The world had changed overnight, and yet, for all intents and purposes, certain things remained the same. As an example, vile, dishonest humans still walked the earth. The released biological agent which started this had wiped out most of Hollywood in a weekend, and still somehow managed to miss some of the worst humanity had to offer. Well, it had removed several of the absolute worst Hollywood had to offer, but some remained.

Those who had survived until now, had no idea how to live among the common rabble. Emily was once like that, but she learned to adapt. Now, when we encountered the tofu eating, avocado toast munching, race-baiting, empty-headed wahoos from the land of sexual perversion and ‘do as I say, not as I do’ types, we laughed at their uselessness.

“Go on,” I’d yell to them. “Y’all go perform for the Lurkers. I’m sure they’ll appreciate the entertainment.” 

Back when 388 million people lived in this country, they could slack off. Now, everyone pulled double and triple shifts. Slackness wasn’t allowed. If you didn’t pull your weight, we sent you packing.

In Clown World, no political figure would stand on a soapbox and feign sympathy for your imagined oppression. No one would slap a ‘Care’ emoji on your social media post and pretend to care about how tough you had it in the Land of the Free.

Here, you had a choice. You could shut up and fight, or you could take your chances with the Lurkers.

We banded together, and it surprised me how well it worked. Tough times don’t last, tough people do. We pushed the Lurkers back and secured five bases for our people. Safe behind the walls, we had a chance to step down from the heightened operation tempo and take stock of issues that needed immediate attention. Without missing a beat, we launched into making repairs to our equipment, shoring up our defenses, and checking on the survivors.

It was all going so well, until last night.

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