Canaan Dogs

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Birmingham, Alabama 

“Holy shit!! Did you see that??” Chris Chalmers sat bolt upright from the blanket on which he lay, sleepily digesting the barbecued chicken he and his companion, Joe McCarty had just finished. The noise of jet engines had startled him from his lethargy and he opened his eyes just in time to see three military jets flying low overhead. In fact, he couldn’t remember ever seeing such aircraft flying so low. He was even able to make out the numbers painted on the sides of the aeroplanes.
“What the hell do you suppose they were doing so low?” Joe wondered aloud. “maybe they are looking for drugs or something?” “No, I don’t think so, they would use smaller planes or helicopters for something like that”. I’ve only seen that kind of aircraft flying that low once in my life…that’s when I was serving in Iraq a few years ago”. “Those guys were dropping bombs and strafing buildings though and these two weren’t doing anything like that.”

“To hell with it, I’m going back to my dreams” said Joe sleepily, as he lay back on the blanket. Chris wasn’t able to dismiss it so easily, though. Training operations didn’t usually occur in this area. The nearest military base was more than 500 miles away.

When they woke up a couple of hours later the memory of the low flyers had vanished from their minds. As they packed up their camping gear, making ready to get back to the city they talked of mundane things. “How about a couple of drinks at the Gizmo before we go back home?” asked Joe. Chris agreed that sounded like a good idea. Sunday afternoons were always good at Gizmo. It was quiet with just a few old regulars sharing drinks, jokes and gossip. The boistrous weekend crowds only showed up after 9 pm and by then the regulars were well ensconced in their flats. 

The drive back into Birmingham was quiet as they enjoyed the beautiful sunset in front of them. Joe said “the sunset makes beautiful colors off all those jet trails in the sky, doesn’t it?” And it was true. Combined with the low hanging clouds the trails of mist left by the jet aeroplanes absorbed the light and reflected beautiful colors that completely filled the western sky. “I don’t know what the hell is in those vapor trails, but it sure makes for a great show” replied Chris. Let’s stop and get some sunset pictures at the top of the next hill. Cresting the rise in the highway revealed the sleepy little town of Anniston that had grown up around the steel and iron mills a hundred or so years back. It was a perfect complement to pictures. Joe eased the car off the pavement onto the breakdown lane and came to a stop. The view was spectacular. Hundreds of little houses and shops were nestled into the surrounding forests. Behind them the hills rose and fell to infinity, first spattered with brilliant colors and then blending into multihued smears before darkening to blue and purple. Where the mountains met the sky was a brilliant yellow that melted into reds, oranges, purples, blues and a hundred combinations of those colors. In contrast the jet trails criss-crossed the horizon with reflections of all the colors, creating a palette that was a feast for the eyes. Chris and Joe stayed, snapping picture after picture until the sun had disappeared behind the mountains and the colors had begun to fade to darkness.

Pushing the front door of Gizmo open was something akin to going home. The atmosphere was warm and welcoming. The lights weren’t too bright and the pungent, yeasty and peaty aromas of beer and whiskeys were just discernible under the more pungent smell of tobacco smoke. All heads turned to see who had just arrived. Smiles and greetings came from all corners of the tavern. Joe spotted Daniel sitting in the corner nursing his single drink of the week, and he and Chris made their way to his table after stopping at the bar and ordering their own drinks.
Daniel-sahn! It’s good to see you, how’ve you been? “Fine” he responded with a small smile. The three old friends sat and chatted for a time. Dan filled them in on all the gossip about people they barely knew, or knew only from Daniel’s “reports” of their activities. After passing the time of day for a bit Dan asked whether they had seen any news reports that day. “No,” answered Chris, “we’ve been up to Mount Cheaha all day and we didn’t turn on the radio on our return trip.” “What’s happened?”

Dan constantly scoured the internet for news that wasn’t being reported by the main media sources. He devoured it ravenously. Chris rarely looked at the news because he well knew that anything that might be of interest would be reported to him by Dan.

“For the past couple of days more and more patients are being admitted. Way more than usual. And not at Sister’s House only, but all over the city.” Dan was a Registered Nurse at St Vincent’s Hospital. Chris had re-christened it to “Sister’s House” many years before. “Every single one of them has been put in strict isolation and no one is talking about them. I’ve tried to find out what’s going on, but no one will say anything at all! I can’t figure out what’s going on.”

“Do you reckon it’s some new strain of flu that’s more contagious than usual? I remember when Bird Flu was going round it was extremely contagious. Maybe they’re just taking extra precautions until they get some kind of guidance from CDC…”

Dan’s expression caused Chris’ words to trail off. It was the expression that said there’s far more going on than anyone is letting on. After a long pause MC asked him, “Do you have a theory?”

“For the past two days reports have been coming in from all over the world about low flying aircraft in places they ought not be flying.” This triggered a memory and Joe said to Dan “We saw two fly over us up at Mount Cheaha today! We didn’t think too much about them, what’s going on?”

“Did you notice any comtrails behind them?” queried Dan. “Yes, both of them! In fact we were just talking about how beautiful they looked in the sunset. We made some great pictures on the way home.” “Well, beautiful they may have been, but there is a possibility they might be deadly, too!” Chris almost laughed, but checked himself when he saw the seriousness in his old friends eyes.

Dan recounted the reports he had read online about the comtrails. The aeroplanes flying over were dropping some kind of chemical and they were being reported in virtually every country in the world. It wasn’t around large urban areas only but less populated places, as well. Dan worried that a global war was beginning and no one was talking about it. Apparently, most of the bloggers he followed were saying the same thing.

“But if that’s true, then who is attacking whom and why? You just said it’s practically worldwide! And what about this? No bombs fell, no one is dead, so how can it be war?”

Dan moved his face closer to his two friends “Have you considered biological warfare? Death isn’t instant; might even take several days or weeks…” All three fell back in their chairs as they slowly digested this new possibility.

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