Sn. Frank Bates
CALLS TO ARMS
A STORY OF THE IMMINENT COLLAPSE
The rain begins to pour, and the night is cold filled with dread. It’s another quiet and unusual evening for Doctor Joseph Brave, and his wife Maxine. They’ve been attempting to live their ordinary lives ever since the riot began in Los Angeles just two weeks ago. No one expected for things to get worse, but little by little they fear that their lives are at risk sooner. Their thoughts filled with troubles and concerns, but none of them wants to talk terrible matters in front of their two sons.
While eating dinner, they try and pretend to sound casual because they don’t want to pass the burden to their children. The youngest son is enjoying his Bologna Pasta with Fried Chicken and salad on the side, while the older son staidly eats his food. Bobby is their oldest at fourteen years. He’s a carbon copy of his dad with long black sided hair and brown eyes from her mother. He understands that things surrounding his family are not right, and he knows that something adverse is bound to happen.
“How was everyone’s day?” Dr. Brave tried to crack the silence with a very calm and natural tone.
“It was a busy day at the office. New stories and reports coming in from…” Maxine almost got carried away, when Joseph looked at her sharply in the eye. From Black to Brown eyes, Maxine knew that she almost crossed the line. The youngest son still calmly eats his food when Bobby speaks,
“I’ve heard that the school is closing, too.”
Either Joseph nor Maxine has anything to say. The youngest son stopped eating and looked at his brother. They were shocked by Bobby’s response. Joseph knew that he needed to explain things to them. However, he’s scared that it might scare them.
“It’s for your safety and everyone in the school. Everything shall be fine, sweetie. Now, I want you to finish your food and get some rest, okay?” Bobby nods, but Joseph sees the grievous concern in his son’s eyes.
After dinner, Maxine does the dishes while Joseph put their sons to sleep. Their spacious room painted in Sky Blue with two single beds, study tables, and one large closet. Even with abundant living, Joseph and Maxine taught their kids the importance of saving, and not falling in love with materialism because true happiness lies in the heart and peace of mind.
“Is it true that the school is closing, Daddy?” The youngest son asks with an innocent look in his brown eyes that he got from her mother. Joseph is out of words because he’s unsure of how he should explain things to his 10-year old son. He knows that his sons’ aspirations are at risk if things get wickeder in the Government, the economy, and his country. However, he knows that he has to secure his son’s mind.
“Son, the school has to protect its people from bad men. Do you remember how your brother protected you from those bully kids back when you were in kindergarten? He confronted them like a real man. He doesn’t want you hurt because he loves you. Your mom and I would do everything to protect the both of you.” Joseph said.
“What about my dream of being like you? Of becoming the best doctor?” The youngest son asks, again.
“You know you can have everything if you have faith. It’s just that sometimes, there are things in life that have to happen for us to become stronger. But you should never stop living. You have to keep on fighting for your dreams, your family.” He’s doubtful if his son understands him, but he discerns that he calmed him. Bobby was listening silently from his bed, so Joseph calls him,
“Come here, Bobby. Join us.” Bobby gets off the bed to grasp for his father’s hand, and they hugged while holding one another. With eyes closed, Joseph prayed that those horrible things come to an end soon.
After washing the dishes, Maxine opened the TV to watch updates about the government and the riot. As a news writer for a decade, it has been part of her life to listen and know everything that happens around the world. She never would’ve thought that she’ll be a part of the news that she’s been writing. She has covered a lot of stories in her life, but it makes her horrified to report news that involves her family. However, with the recent horrifying events, she decided to take an indefinite leave from her job to watch over their sons.
Joseph went down to join Maxine in their small, but a sleek living area. They have been married for fifteen years, but their beauty has yet to fade. At forty, Joseph still has those affectionate black eyes, messy black with now a little silver hair, pointed nose, and square chin. He maintains an active lifestyle and toned muscles for his job. While Maxine still has those beautiful brown eyes, shaggy brown shoulder-length hair with a little-wrinkled face.
They met at the South Crest Community Hospital where Joseph practiced medicine and served as a General Surgeon until now. Maxine, on the other hand, was covering a story about a government official who had a gunshot in the abdomen before the election. Joseph was one of the assistants that helped the surgery during that time, and Maxine interviewed him. It was more of a love at first sight where Joseph asked for Maxine’s number after the interview. He dated her for three months and had been in a relationship for two years until they decided to build their family.
As they browse channels, they see nothing new but those people shouting at the streets, protesting, and killings. However, some TV stations are now having technical problems because of power interruption. It all started when each price of the commodities has risen dramatically, because of the inflation. The country can’t pay its international debt, and the amount continuously immersed as days goes on.
Electricity in some parts of the country is unstable because of the protest. There has been a shortage of Food, Water, and other necessities everywhere. Investors pulled out their capitals to some businesses that increased unemployment rate for a short course of time. It is a domino effect that caused panic to people.
Dollars slowly hit rock bottom, and the government couldn’t pull off any better solutions to stop the drought. Every single day has been a battle. Communication signal started to become poor, until another frightful news flashed on the screen.
Headline: WHITE HOUSE BOMBING!
“The policemen confirm that there has been a terror bombing attack near the White House. They are still careful and private to authenticate the culprit behind the explosion. Lots of innocent men got hurt including the President of the United States of America. The president is still under a severe health condition, and the doctors are closely monitoring his situation. The Government decided to bring him to Bethesda Maryland together with other members of the first family, for treatment and security.” The news anchor said.
Media has set their cameras near the White House eagerly since the riot has begun to capture every moment and deliver it to the public. Some footages of the bombing flashed the screen. It was a subtle afternoon when the convoy of the President began moving, and then the car behind the Presidential State Car exploded. Impeccable men started to run back and forth. The video is disturbing, shaky and full of fear.
Another report came in about the current situation of the rioters in Los Angeles. It has now widely spread in other parts of the country. The rebels, Marauders, and other people looking for solutions are taking matters into their own hands. They are looking for ways to survive and rule the country because they lose faith in the Government.
Joseph turned off the TV because he saw that Maxine was fearful. She couldn’t believe how fast things have changed, and how vehement people have become. He entwined their hands while his other arm wrapped around her waist. Joseph needs to be tough for Maxine, boys, and their families.
“I think it’s time for you and the kids to go the farm. It wouldn’t be safe in here if things get out of hand.” Joseph insisted.
“What about you? We can’t just live you here.” Maxine is very persistent that all of them should go away from Southcrest. They should’ve moved out since the riot began, but Joseph didn’t want to live.
“You know I have an obligation to the people of the town. Rioters might come closer anytime soon, and I couldn’t risk your lives. It’s for the best, Maxine. I know you will be safe on the farm. ”
“How come you can save other people’s lives and forget about yours?” Maxine mischievously cried.
“Honey, that’s what a doctor should do. We have a sworn obligation to the public and to those people who believe in us. Many of them need us now, more than anything. I will follow you there alive, I promise.” Joseph assures his wife.
Maxine surrendered the argument and thought it’s for their kids’ safety, too. She cried knowing that they’ll be away from Joseph to fulfill his responsibilities. She knows that she married a nobleman, but she never thought that they should part ways in the midst of complicated events.
Amidst chaos between the Government and its people, Joseph is doubtful about serving his country or saving his family. Joseph closed his eyes and said a little prayer. He hugged his wife tightly and planted a soft kiss on her forehead. Joseph has no idea if it would be for the ...