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The Fuel

His solemn face.

I felt tormented this morning, but at the end, a miracle saved me.


There was a large serrated blade that was stuck inside my back between my spine and it has been there for over twenty years. It felt heavy on my soul, as as if it was stuck deeper by those who hurt me in the past. I understood how those who hurt me were well off, having martinis in their yatch, but I've never thought they still wanted to destroy me.


For a long time, there were random emails, phone calls, and random people who ostracized. It felt like the Twilight Zone and it felt unreal, as if I was living another fictitious life, but they were there and I couldn't escape their taunts. This morning, I

had to escape hate from those memories that was triggered by random profanity. It reminded me of the haters that traumatized me because it led to violence that were physical assaults. 


But, there was this honey bear stuffed animal at a random isle inside a store, and it reminded me of someone dear. His rugged face came to my phone as I saved his photographs and it felt grounding. He didn't smile in the picture, instead a sort of solemn faced in a black t-shirt. I felt stronger and whole. It took a second, not even that...an instant of grounding peace. I told him inside my thoughts that he was mine, and no one else could claim him. In reality, he was far and away, further than just geography.


The moment I took to look at him was worth my time. It gave me peace, and I was in love. He may not be reality, but it was my reality.


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Soul Privileges

My Father's wrist phone beeped as the hologram appeared in front of him. "Ready to talk?" said Dana.


"Jake, Rambo, let's go to sit on the floor in front of the sofa. Turn off the lights, and shut the curtains," said my Father.


We closed the window curtains, and took off the solar lightbulbs and turned off the solar cell. We sat crosslegged on the floor in front of our television and sofa. 


"What's going on?" Rambo asked. 


"Dana thinks he knows about the symbol Karina saw on the man's arms," said my Father.


"The Machete and Fire sign?" I asked. 


"Yes. It's definitely one of the Baptiste men," said Dana.


In the dark, Dana proceeded to unveil the secrets of the The New Order Regime.


"I was in the infantry in the Southeast Asian division. The Laotian also had their royals, and they were all annihilated. The reason is because of the resources they had in the islands. Those Pacific Islands had multi-billion dollars companies with the self-preserving island that refuels itself. It can import and export all types of goods. I found out that the Tier 1 goods were only to make Tier 1 goods, and Tier 2 so on. The prices are capped and increased per year, and the taxes are high for Tier 1, to keep maintaining the money reserve for The New Order Regime. Tier 1 is taxed at the financial income of $300,000 and up and the tax is at least at 50% per household, but..Tier 2, has to make at least $150,000 and they tax at 45% per household, to make them stay at that level. It's really difficult to jump from one Tier to another. Tier 3 is the lowest and they tax at 35% per household, and to make sure no one can move up a tier, unless they have a heritage of Tier 1 or they marry into it. But, we all know that all romantic relationships has to benefit The New Order Regime, and they screen us with our security numbers, so Tier 2 and 3 will most likely marry only to those Tiers, because it's difficult for them to meet Tier 1 and have a relationship since it won't benefit The New Order to gain another Tier 1. It will benefit the Regime if a Tier 1 gives a progeny, but that progeny also has to marry Tier 1, and most likely, they had tied to The Regime," said Dana. "But, here it the catch, if a Royal has a progeny, they have to automatically marry Tier 1 to give the birthright to that Tier."


"Or they can be really smart and be a surgeon, and join the Socialist Hospital, and work their way to get more than $300,000 per year," I said. My Father smiled and roughened my scalp with his fingers. Rambo laughed, and said, "So....How would they get the models and the celebrities and famous people in the world?"


"They all have to earn more than $300,000 per year and belong to Tier 1, otherwise, they will fall to Tier 2, and 3. Then, they will have to find a way to marry into Tier 1, and it has to benefit The Regime," Dana said. "If Karina was a Ting Dynasty, technically, her birthright gave her Tier 1, but she was almost annihilated, and The Regime don't want her to become royal again, because royals have certain "soul privileges" that The New Order Regime does not endorse."


"What do you mean by "Soul Privileges," asked Rambo. "All souls have privileges, right?"


"Not according to The New Order Regime. Giuseppe Baptiste is a priest, and he sacrificed himself to gain power, some authoritarial powers over the souls of the world. He blinks morse code, it is almost as if he has some magic attached to him. Royalty and First Families have "Clout" and that "Clout" is something he opposes because The New Order Regime believes in one central authority, Giuseppe, and no one else. Imagine if all these Royalties and First Families are starting to use their clouts to help people, creating businesses, making free foods, donating services? What good would Giuseppe Baptiste be?" said Dana. "He only wants his Regime. And no one else."


"Why Giuseppe?" I asked. "It could have been me that was chosen to be the authoritarian."


"The question is, who is behind Giuseppe? He didn't get there by himself, is that understood?" Dana said.


"Who's the consilieri?" asked my Father.


"I don't know him, but I saw that sign on his ring. His consiliery is always behind the scene. I'm not sure who, but I've met Giuseppe, and he's not very bright. He's a morse code expert, I give you that. He can blink 80 times per second, and his eyes still maintains focus on his verse," Dana said.


"This is all garbage!" Rambo said. "Garbage, he's a bullshitter!"


"Wait, hold on," I asked. "Why Karina?"


"She's the last of the Royals with a soul privilege. Anything Karina says, somehow becomes more attractive, loved, and earnest. It is because her lineage is Royalty, but as any Royals, their hearts has to be good. If the heart of a Royal is not good, it destroys their whole lineage. It takes a good woman with a heart of gold to save her dynasty," Dana said. "Karina was just trying to save her family. In this case, her own life. Her babies are now half-breeds, and it's becase Giuseppe Baptiste and his consilieri wants a half-New Order Regime into a royal family, since they've annihilated everyone else. If Karina is as smart as Sean said she is, she would know what to do to convince everyone how to solve the world's problems. She could potentially be a leader. It's too bad she was assaulted and now bore two illegitimate children. She could have easily been a Tier 1."


"All this? For just a Tier 1 privilege," said Rambo, with his face blown up and in anger. "I've never heard the shittiest bullshit in all of my life, and I'm an orphan."


"But, the money from the taxes, where it does it all go?" asked my Father.


"They're funnelled into The New Order Regime Treasury, but we all know that's it's not just Giuseppe Baptiste," said Dana. "We need to find out who his consilieri is. He must be always with him, giving him instructions on what to do."


"This is all foolish!" Rambo said. "We've been paying all of our monies, and he's increased our product prices so we can't buy anything else, then we can't meet anyone except out Tier or lower," yelled Rambo. "I want to throw some bricks to a glass window! Revolt!"


"Rambo, we have to play it cool. We have to work with their system that they have now. It's permanent, and it's going to be there for a while," my Father said. 


"Rambo, we can revolt. I'm with you, but we have to revolt in a smarter way than The New Order," I said.


"Media, but how would we dodge them?" Rambo asked. "How can we take over the television with all these blackouts?"


"I know just how to do it," Dana said. 


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Go get some rest.

My Father spoke to Dana in the other room, at times in aggreement in yeahs and other times, I heard and I don't know. He came out of his bedroom within fifteen minutes, and back to the dinner table with us.


Karina was overwhelmed, as she sat in silence eating her pasta in the dark with us beside her.


"I'm sorry for these questions, Karina. You should rest in my room," I told her. Our eyes couldn't look to her face, as she laughed and replied, "I'm a member of a lost dynasty, but tyrants now want to abuse my body and my womb to control the rest of the world."


My eyes moistened and my heart was torn apart, because that was exactly what the men did to Karina. Rambo finished his dinner and walked to the sink and washed his dishes. "They've done this since slavery years, and for a moment in time, we were equal in our life, but it took a very long time. Now the devil found another way to abuse his powers, and now everyone is in on it," said Rambo.


"Karina, finish your dinner, and I will fix my room for you," I told her. I walked to the hallway and to the room ahead of me, next to my Father's, on the right. The window shades were still open, and my computer was shut down from the blackout. I took off the sheets, and put on a new one, and replaced the pillow covers, then took my blankets and shook it. I folded the blanket and walked back to the dinner table. Karina was still sitting at the dinner table with my Father, as they both drank their waters.


Boris and Betina cried, and became fussy again, needing attention.


Rambo looked to me, and then to Karina, and said, "Karina, go get some rest. Let's go to Knox tomorrow for your babies."


My Father took the crying babies, and brought them to my room. I took Karina with me, and gave her a big hug. "It's okay," I said. "I've never had a sister before, but I think you're one I can love forever." Karina tore apart inside my hug, and sobbed. She sat on my bed, and my Father placed the babies on the bed next to her. "Don't move too much when you're sleeping. We only have one bed," I told her. "My Dad needs his sleep for the hospital work. Rambo and I will sleep outside on the sofa."


"Thank you, Jake," said Karina, wiping her tears, as my Father opened the swaddle of the towels, letting the babies breathe. He placed them on the top of the bed, without pillows, and caressed their foreheads. I handed the pillows to Karina for her small body to sleep on.


"Good night, Karina," my Father said, as the babies calmed down and Karina was beside them. They wanted their Mommy.


I walked with my Father out of the bedroom, and closed the door behind us. We walked to the dining room where Rambo was, and sat down at the dinner table together.


"What do you want to do?" my Father asked. "I need Dana's help on this. To cover me."


"We need supplies for the babies, and for Karina," Rambo said. "She can't possibly breast feed."


"Jake, buy some foods for the newborns at Knox," my Father said. "We have to make sure she's not too sad to care for the babies."


"We need to help her," I said. "She's barely a teen."


"We have to expose Giuseppe Baptiste and The New Order Regime," said Rambo.


"I agree," I said. "They are not allowed to hurt vulnerables, or even Tier 2 or 3. They're not allowed to hurt even the homeless or anyone. They only care about their own regime, and whose lives they own."


"The New Order Regime is based on corruption, violence and abuse. We do need to do something," my Father said.


"Let's talk to Dana tomorrow," I said.


"Let's get some rest tonight. Just relax, and think over somethings, before we plan on the process," my Father said.


"Okay. Is it okay with me here, Mr. O'Connor?" Rambo asked.


"If the sofa is okay for you and Jake for tonight, then it's okay with me," my Father said.


"Rambo, ...I really want to thank you," I said. "If it wasn't for you. She would have died, and so would the babies."


"No problem, we're in this together," Rambo said.


It was almost 7 pm.


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The Green Apple

The patchouli damsel wore a wreath of daisies and roses, with her scent of cucumber mint. Her dress ruffled with privilege and gold as she glanced at me while in blooming sage of contemplation. "Take this green apple, and feast upon it for your years shall age not in numbers but in wisdom," she uttered as her lavender eyes batted with indiscretion.


"Who are you?" I asked, expecting friendship as I was in sorrows of the previous past.


"You will see, and feast on it. Hurry," she urged.


I took the apple, yet waited on the feast as I worked on the blossoming sage, planting cedars, and love. In a few, a cupped hand drowned me and no more stars above or melodies of hymn. The pervasive woman shoved the green apple into in mouth with the hands of malice concomitant of evil by her side. The wrought of pain was normalized by her comparison of my sorrows.  

Awakened, I shed blood proved of no mercy from the deviants. The green apple vomited out of my mouth as I treaded down a path unfamiliar to the journey expected. I understood myself, but gained no wisdom as the green apple promised. 

The damsel distressed in her own mind practiced her soliloquies and verses, but her gross words were the venster of hell.  Upon a journey, however, my joy came up and piqued my thoughts, words, and action proving of strength I never knew I had. 

The green apple and its damsel became a folktale, upon the fields of life, where jealousies became the vice.


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Who is Giuseppe Baptiste and The New Order Regime?

"Karina, are you okay?" asked Rambo. "How are you feeling? You can talk to us about it."


"Rambo, you and Jake were the only two people who believed me. If it wasn't for Boris or Betina, and my ragged clothes, you won't have taken me seriously," Karina said. 


"I'm happy you hid while you were pregnant," I told her. "I'm happy you survived."


"In this country, everyone believe the rich and privileged. Even after knowing I am the last of the Ting Dynasty, it didn't matter to anyone. We weren't Tier 1," Karina said. 


"How did The New Order men murder your parents?" Rambo asked. "You never told me."


"A schoolmate told The New Order men because she hated me. I didn't want to share my homework," Karina said. 


"That was it? Over a silly homework that she hated you for, so she told them to hurt your family?" Rambo asked.


Karina nodded. I could tell from her face that her loss was so deep and grave because of the loss of her parents and her own dignity, and now she bore the children of the men who assaulted her.


"As human beings, we need to question Giuseppe Baptiste and The New Order Regime. Why he is our leader, and how he got there in the first place and who were the people who got him there. The New Order men destroyed the royals and first families, to gain control. Economic control, human rights control, health and well being of everyone. But, was it worth the killing and the destructions to gain control only to give it to one man whose vernacular is vague and incongruent with humanity, colorful with slander against the royals and respectable families, full of abuse against the poor? But, the world is so blind to support him because he blinks morse codes and seduces us with Biblical knowledge he claims to understand? Why Giuseppe Baptiste and The New Order Regime?" Karina spoke with sincere ingenuity and passionate curiosity. "It was the violence that got them to the top and it will continue to go on if the victims are silenced. Why do people believe The New Order men in the first place? Because they have cars and guns? Money and fame? They never deserved it, because they violated me." 


"I can't even ride my bicyle," Rambo said, equally upset as Karina.


"It wasn't the people's choice, it was forced upon us, because nations in the world supported him. Leaders of the free world supported him, who helped him rose to power. They spoke the same language and believed in the same ideals, and they didn't give room for authentic justice and humanity," I said. "It was a hostile takeover. It wasn't pretty, Karina. It happened long ago, before you were born. Father told me."


"It's true," my Father said, his right hand cupping his chin.


"You know a lot for a twelve year old, Karina," Rambo said. "I'm happy you understand who Giuseppe Baptiste is. I never liked him in the first place. He's been in reign for a very long time."


"It didn't take long for me to know. As soon as I was assaulted. I knew it was more than just a jealous schoolmate. It was my lineage, my whole being, and their desire to own my life and control me. It was abuse," Karina said. "I was really hurt, and now, no one but you two believed in me. Under Giuseppe Baptiste, I will always be a statistic and I won't be able to gain justice," Karina said.


"What do you want to do?" my Father asked. 


"I want to expose The New Order men, and Giuseppe Baptiste," Karina said. 


"That's what I want too," Rambo said. "I'm emancipated and I doubt that I will ever be Tier 1. It was tied to my journey of life, because I was born when Giuseppe Baptiste decided that everything had to benefit The New Order Regime."


"How will we convince the world? How will the rest of the world know the things I've gone through?" Karina asked.


"The same way The New Order men control the world. Through media and language, except....," I said, in contemplation about a strange plan. A plan devious, but non-violent, sharp and crafty, understandable and poignant.


"Son, I need to call a friend," my Father said. He dialed his wrist phone. "Hologram, give me Dana."


The hologram dialed to Dana Zudecki, a retired soldier for The New Order, in the same regiment as those who overthrew The Laotian government and gained a new territory for Giuseppe Baptiste.


"Sean! How are you? I'm in Brazil, enjoying Rio deJaneiro. It's beautiful out here," Dana said. The background was on the blue ocean, with him sipping a coconut juice from its shell.


"Code Jasmine. Seal 6. It's real," said my Father.


"What? Are you serious? We have a lost descendant? How old?" Dana asked, his voice deepened.


"Twelve. Prodigy," my Father said.


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Spaghetti and Marinara

"You know a lot for a little girl," Rambo said to Karina.


"My last name is Ting. It's like Ding, except smarter. You should expect nothing less," Karina said, with tears in her eyes.


My Father held her hands and told her, "You're valuable. I'm impressed that you stayed alive for over a year after they hurt you."


"There is a reason I was made into this world, and perhaps it's to give birth to Boris and Betina, but I felt it was something more," Karina said. "I hope it was not to just bore the child of the enemies."


"I believe you, Karina," Rambo said, as he knelt beside her. 


The room was dark, but we could still feel each other.


I turned around and witnessed a darkened world, with a thriving regime built on fear and darkness. 


"Karina, why don't you eat a little bit, and then sleep," my Father said. "I will care for Boris and Betina."


"Thank you, Mr. O'Connor," Karina said.


I took some of the solar lightbulbs we had in our cabinet and used it's sticky side along it's edge and stuck it on the walls around inside our home. The darkness won't cower my Father and I, we knew something went on since the inception of the regime.


"Jake, do you have a Mom?" Karina asked. 


"He doesn't want to talk about her," Rambo said. "It gives him a headache."


"She's Tier 1, but she doesnt' want to work for it, and only wants to marry through it," said Mr. O'Connor. "Superficial, and dominating, and often she drinks too much."


"She is remarried, with another Tier 1," I told Karina. "So she doesn't even remember me."


Karina straigthened her chair to face the table, and my Father took some of the pasta that was ready inside the pot, and placed some spaghetti onto a plate. He took some of the marinara sauce, and ladled enough for a twelve year old portion.


Karina saw the spaghetti, and her mouth gaped open. "Fresh hot meal. I havent' had this in a very long time," she said.


"The usual," my Father said. "Sean. That's my name."


"It's easy to make," Rambo said, sitting down at the dinner table. "Not to insult your cooking ability, Mr. O'Connor."


"I never had one, and it's Jake's favorite," said my Father, taking some spaghetti from the pot with some marinara sauce for Rambo.


I smiled, and sat myself down at the dinner table with everyone. 


"It's love, no matter how you cook it," I told Karina.


We ate together under the solar lightbulbs, while the rest of the world was still in the dark.


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"I have an idea," I said, my mind sparked with bright illumination. "I can get us transportation, and I can ride my longboard to get us to our flat."


"Who do you know?" Rambo asked. 


"This girl with a Rexi. It's fast, and it can take you and Karina and I can take the babies," I told Rambo. "Hologram, get me the brunette I met at Knox."


My hologram dialed the brunette and her face came up in front of me in media. "Hey...interested. What's going on?"


"I need a ride and for that, we should keep in touch," I told her. She smiled, and looked bashful and looked to the ground. I smiled back, and sincerely told her. "It's to help someone."


"I like you. What was your name again?" she said. "Kylie. That's mine."


"Jake. Jake O'Connor," I told her, with my smile still here.


"Okay. Where are you?" Kylie asked, her brows scrunched.


"I'm at a run down place. I'll give you the address," I told her, and gave her the number of the house and the street in Five Points, Denver.


"I can meet you there, and I'll bring my longboard so I can get home. My Rexi is trained, and she can get home on her own. She's programmed and fast. So make sure you know how to ride," Kylie said. 


"Did you tell her that I'll be riding?" Rambo asked.


"Yeah, my friend will ride, and this sweet little girl with him," I told Kylie in all honesty. 


"Not a problem. I'll give you some treats for my Rexi to eat when you get to the destination, and you can feed it to her. Then you have to push the button on her necklace and she's going to run to me," Kylie told me. "This better be for a good cause."


"It is," I said. "Hey, I promise we will be in touch. I mean it."


"I know," Kylie smiled. "I know you're a good guy."


"Thank you, Kylie."


Rambo and I waited for twenty minutes, and packed all of our stuff and woke up Karina, and swaddled the babies. I placed Boris and Betina inside my shoulder pack and let them sleep inside, and swung my shoulder pack on my chest.  Rambo made a belt with some of the towels I had for Karina, to cover her wound so the impact of riding won't harm her. 


Kylie arrived with her Rexi, a short haired animal with powerful legs as if a medium sized bear with defined muscles was in front of me. "This is Smily, and she's docile, and loves to run," Kylie said, as she jumped off her Rexie's back. Smily almost purred and licked Kylie's hand. I caressed her forehead, and she pushed against my palm and kissed me. "She's so lovely," Kylie said, and hugged Smily. "Just let her follow you, Jake, and she'll know where to go, unless you're riding. Then, it's like riding a horse."


"I have a longboard, and as long as Smily can see me, we're good," I said.


Rambo walked from behind me, and offered a handshake. "Rambo, nice to meet you," he said. 


"Kylie, and I guess you're riding my Smily?" Kylie asked. 


"Yes, and this is Karina," Rambo said, showing Karina behind him, standing with a belt made of a towel.


Karina waved, and said, "Thank you for helping me."


"What happened to you? You looked hurt," Kylie asked, pointing to the towel around her waist.


"Yeah, it's The New Order men," Karina said. 

"The New Order men? Jake, what's going on?" Kylie said, her face aghast.


"Promise me you're not one of Giuseppe Baptiste's fan," I said.


"Promise, but why her?" Kylie asked.


"I don't know...I need to get home, as soon as possible, before they find her," I told Kylie. 


"Take Smily, and do the treats," Kylie said, handing me a few cubes of Smily's treats. "She'll be fine. It's legal." Kylie turned to Rambo and Karina and said, "Hold on tight."


"I will," Karina said.


Smily was sitting with her paws on the ground and her hind legs behind her relaxed. Rambo got on first, and Karina sat in front of Rambo.


"Rambo, hold the saddle, and Karina, hold her necklace," Kylie said, showing Karina to hold on. "Now go."


I got on my longboard and took off, as Smily quickly followed. 


"I will call," I told Kylie. She nodded and waved her goodbye.


Kylie was right, Smily was very fast as she followed me on the longboard only yards behind. She jumped over puddles, and rounded street corners as Rambo and Karina held on tight. Smily paced me and we passed neighborhoods avoiding Colfax and attention.


By the time we arrived at Capitol Hill, it was dusk, and the solar lights were on, but building lights were off. 


I stopped in front of my Father's flat and Rambo quickly got off with Karina, and Boris and Betina were still fast asleep, enjoying the ride as if flying inside a contraption. I gave Smily her treats and pushed the button on her necklace and as a Rexi should, she took off to find Kylie's home.


We ran upstairs to my flat and pushed the bell to get inside. 


"Dad, it's me," I pushed the button in front of our door. 


The door unlocked, and my Father opened the door. "Did you see anyone behind you?"


"No, actually we took and didn't look back," I told him.


"Mr. O'Connor, I'm Rambo, and this is Karina," Rambo said, behind me, and pushing Karina to the front of me.


"Come in, let's eat dinner," my Father said.


We came in, and my Father was cooking, and the pot was boiling.


"Karina, sit down at the dinner table, and tell me what happened," my Dad said. "Have a cup of water, first." 


I took off my shoulder bag, and placed Boris and Betina on the sofa. They were fussy, and stretching their arms and legs. 

My Father went to the refrigerator and took a still water bottle, and offered it to Karina. Karina took it to the dinner table and sat down. "Thank you, Mr. O'Connor," she said. She opened the bottle and drank the water. 


"Why do you think they did this to you?" my Father asked, not wasting anytime.


"My parents were the last descendants of the Ting Dynasty, and we were annihilated, and we escaped only to lose my parents in the journey, and I was lost," Karina told my Father.


"Were your parent's killed?" Rambo asked. "We can try to find them."


"I believe they were killed by The New Order, because they don't want another royal dynasty than Giuseppe Baptiste," Karina said.


"Baptiste doens't like royal families, and he destroyed them because he believed in one leader, without ties to a lineage," Rambo said.


"Royals are symbols of family values and family traditions, and it is okay. There are so many Royal Families in the world before Baptiste came to power. They were a symbol of family heritage and kinship amongst the different nations in the world, usually alongside humanitarian efforts, in once accord to help with alliances and ties between countries and represent kinship amongst men and women. Baptiste didn't believe in all that. Since Baptiste came into power, there are barely any organizations who cared for the poor and indigent, and everyone bowed to Baptiste because he wanted to be the authority although he preaches solidarity amongst working men and women. Why do you think there are so many vulnerables and homeless populations in Denver?" my Father said. "So, why do you think they hurt you, Karina."


"My parents said The New Order men wanted connections through geneaology and spiritual favors," Karina said, her face in grim silence looking to the ground. 


"I think it's because The New Order men wants control, and they want to own lives, and feel like they have ownership over souls," I told my Father. "That's how you control someone isn't?"


"She's twelve!" Rambo said. "She barely knows directions to Knox. How much ownership did they think they wanted?"


"I know my directions," Karina said. 


"Sorry, but still...," Rambo said. 


"They couldn't just build a website and write a manifesto to feel powerful?" Karina asked.


"Websites? Who has one of those these days?" Rambo said. He shook his head and asked Karina,"What do you know about manifesto?"


"When my parents were with me, they told me that The New Order had a manifesto, and they hated the power of good, tradition, families, and the idea of heritage and a royal lineage and birthrights. They hated first families, royal families, presidents and people of influence. They wanted to create their own powerful regime," Karina said. "Where they said everyone is of equal values, but the truth is, Baptiste is the sole authoritarian, and his men abuse their powers and they use violence. I think he feels superior as a human being and his ideas are based on racial supremacy, and that's why he wanted to have The New Order Regime."


The lights shut off, and the stove turned off. The whole room became dark. I opened the curtains to our windows and looked outside to find the buildings lights were off, far into the distance. The only lights visible were the street lights with swift shadows passing of people running on the streets.


"What's going on?" I asked. 


All of the sudden, the whole entire world felt dark.


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Democracy Now

Rambo came in through the back door and we sat on the floor in the front room. "They still believe in the old myth," said Rambo. 


"What old myth?" I asked. I didn't know there was a myth.


"That if you hurt someone you become stronger, and have some sort of power through ripping a soul and destroying a life," said Rambo. "It's the old world myth and it's prevalent in the old developing countries with a lot of crimes. Didn't you remember your history? Those leaders from the old world, were once criminals. I think Giuseppe is one too. He might be a child molester."


"He's a eunuch, and supposedly a priest, well versed in all religions, especially the Bible," I said. "But, do you think they were sent to hurt Karina? To get favor and power?" 


"Yes, I do think Giuseppe is the leader of this ring of criminals," Rambo said. "It's not a matter of politics, it's a matter of human rights."


"It's The New Order, Rambo," I said, looking at his face askew. "You seriously believe they remember about human rights? That's so women's rights."


"The New Order specifically are made of priviledged men and women but they always asked for privilege and power and favor from the people. Everything to the advantage of The New Order," said Rambo. "They wanted something out of Karina. I don't know what."


"We need to ask Karina who she really is, and how she became an orphan," I said. I stood up, and dialed my hologram wrist phone. "Give me, Father."


The phone dialed, and Rambo stood up from the ground and told me, "I know how to get more supplies."


"I'm asking my Dad if we can take Karina home, and get your some supper," I said. The hologram came on, and Father was washing his hands in the emergency room, finishing up after some procedure. 


"Son, make it quick. I have five minutes," Father said. 


"A vulnerable, 12 years old, identified as a victim of assault, impregnated and now has fraternal twins. She is now living in this house," I said, quickly while scanning my wrist phone to the whole room and showing my Dad the inside of the old run-down house. My Father looked to the hologram, and dried his hands.  


Father stepped into the hallway of the hospital and walked into the restroom. "How did you find her?" he asked.


"Under a bridge, near the old Speer Boulevard, in Denver. She was asking for food to feed her babies who are two weeks old," Rambo said. He came into the hologram and showed his face to my Father. "Hi, Mr. O'Connor."


"Was she hurt? What's her mental state?" my Father asked. He stood with his right hand to his face, watching the hologram. 


"She remembered everything, and saw symbols, and I think she's severely hurt, perhaps depression, and traumatized," I said. "Can we get her home? Rambo also needs some foods."


"I took her into this house, and she's an orphan, soon to be homeless, Mr. O'Connor," Rambo said. "I'm emancipated, so I've got a place. If it's too much trouble for me..."


My Father interrupted, "Democracy lives in my house. It's my religion, and The New Order doesn't rule inside my heart. Bring her home and Rambo too, son."


"I'll cook. I promise it will be good," I said. My Father may work for a Banner, a Socialist Hospital, but we loved Democracy, and we believed in justice for all, the good of humanity, the power of voting, and civil and human rights. I knew my Father would help Karina, because he took a paycut to work for Banner, to give good healthcare for the poor, and he understood me.


"Mr. O'Connor, I'm Tier 3, so I can get some good stuff, too," Rambo said, his eyes smiling.


"Jake, why don't you just get home. I'll meet you there. We need to talk about this, and I can take a look at Karina and her babies," said my Father.


"It's safer, because she said The New Order men might be behind this," I said.


"WHAT?!" my Father yelled out.


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I miss my Dad.

He slured his words as I cried in front of the window of the skilled nursing facility missing him at home. His right hand over a small soft pillow and his speech slow and incomprehensible.


"I miss you so so much, Papi. I wish you can come home," I told him over the window. "I feel so alone without you."


"Pakejambunik," he said. It was a word he uttered that I didn't know how to spell or write, but inside my heart, it meant, "I love you, Diana."


I remembered when he was angry when we lived in a small two bedroom apartment in Reseda, after haggling over a pound of shrimp that was being sold by a street corner. The white supremacists told him he was a chink for haggling. He came home in tears from anger, and we sat down over the prejudices in the United States of America. He told me that he just needed a break for the day and the television eased his anger. I watched him calmly erase the anger over racism, like a gentleman.


The time when I told him about the assaults and the brokeness erupted a hopeless evening. He told me to not lose hope on all humanity based on the poor example of some. That hatred was limited to violence while love, especially God's love, was vast, deep, wide, boundless, unlimited, and reaches so far, deep and high as the heavens, galaxies, and all of the universe.


He told me that the schoolmate who bullied and destroyed my life through the assault was of evil and racism, and her successes were tainted with blood and abuse, just as those who hurt me were abominable to God. That I didn't have to be afraid of the world, and to be closer to God and worship Him, then relay every instant of my life through Him. That with God by our side, my Dad will back me up when I'm working things out with my life, and he will back me up when I make mistakes. My Dad was always there.


The time when I met the man whom I asked to marry, only to be found alone several weeks later in struggling heartbreak and hopelessness. My Dad told me that I took his job for him and that made him mad, that even God was angry because I didn't trust the tradition. He told me that it was better left alone, because if it was Godsent, it won't have been broken. The embarrassing stories that I endured and the laughter from the enemies and haters I heard inside my life, because I was so desperate for love, yet my Dad was there to tell me that desperation could only lead to divorces. 


The suffering I felt when I was inches away from death, my Dad took the house key and broke into the bathroom door and stopped me. I miss my Dad dearly, and it has been so difficult with the global pandemic because I haven't been able to hug him or kiss his forehead. I miss my Dad, and I felt a huge loss in my life from his stroke. I felt the half of my body was paralyzed from faith.


Tonight was a hard day, and I wished I could have my Dad home with me. 


In tears. Just write. 




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Hypafix and bandages

"Did you see a symbol of some sort?" I asked Karina. "When they assaulted you, and got you pregnant...did you remember anything else?"


"They had a machete and a fire sign. It was black and tattooed on their arms. There were two of them and they had a car," Karina said. 


"Was it the same truck sized car we saw earlier?" Rambo asked her. "Only government men owned them."


"It was a large car, black, but I don't know much about cars. I just know it was big," Karina said. 


"How were you found by them? Why did you run away from the shelter?" I asked. Most of the orphans who ran away would run to the homeless shelters, but they would almost always meet someone who would help in some sort of way. Not always harmful, but always helpful. 


"I couldn't stand the dirty place. It stunk and it wasn't clean," Karina said. "I felt better outside, sleeping in the street corners or under the bridge. That's why most run aways go outside. Nothing personal."


"But it got you in trouble," Rambo said. "How did they find you?"


"I asked for help from them, and they took me into a building. They said they would be careful, but I didn't know why and I am young, so I thought they'd give me to social services again. But, they didnt. They hurt me," said Karina. She looked towards the twins, Boris and Betina, who were both asleep in their diapers. Karina looked to me and asked me, "Was this all my fault?"


"Definitely NOT!" I answered almost in a jolt of suprise, because that was the last thing I wanted to hear. "This whole thing is THEIR FAULT." This was so typical of The New Order, hurting the meek and vulnerable to gain powers and control. Since the fall of the royals and democracy, the republic became The New Order, and all of the allies of those controlling powers became a strong unifying demon of powerful men and women who abuse their powers to do everything they want against the morales of the people. They would often use control and injustice to manipulate the system to let their own types of men and women into the authoritarial government, and proliferate violence. I just hated The New Order, and those men were inhumane to Karina.


Rambo looked outside to the window, almost in catatonia. He gets that way when he doesn't know what to do. 


"Rambo, clean her wound," I told him. I took my shoulder bag from outside, and unzipped it to take out the bandages. "The wound must have seeped. It's about two hours. Rambo, are you listening to me?"


He looked slowly to my face, and asked me, "How will we do this?"


"Take it one day at a time," I said, focused on the bandages and cutting some Hypafix tape. I looked under Karina's shirt, and asked her, "Karina, is it okay if I take a look. I need to see if it seeped in."


The blood seeped into the cloth bandage, and I took out some of the ointment and took off the bandage slowly. "Rambo, wash your hands, and get this ointment and just put it on her gash."


Rambo went to the restroom and washed his hand, and walked back and knelt in front of Karina. She winced at the pain from the bandage being taken off because it almost stuck to her wound. Rambo took the ointment and held it inside his hand. 


"Let me wash my hands," I said, standing up and quickly going to the restroom to wash my hand, and coming back out to give Rambo some instructions. "Take this cloth first, and soak the blood slowly on her gash."


Rambo palpated Karina's gash with the cheese cloth, and let it soak her blood. "Then put on this ointment?" Rambo asked.


"Yup, slowly and gently," I said. Karina didn't look afraid, she closed her eyes and sat torso up on her knees on the floor. "Karina, just lay down for a moment and relax." She laid down, letting me hold her shirt up from covering the wound. 

Rambo took the ointment and put a slither of it on the gash. "It's cooling, what is it?" Karina asked. 


"Its a combination of the old neosporin and chamomile aloe, with some anti-viral compound," I told her. "It still works for first aid. It's better than putting aspirin for two hours. It will help but this way, it will dry up and get rid of the infection, in case there was some."


Rambo took the bandage and put a small square of it on the gash and put on the Hypafix over it. Karina looked calm, and that eased me, with a soft breath of release. Rambo inhaled deep and exhaled out a breath of relief. 


Rambo caressed Karina's silky black hair, and told her, "Just take a nap for a while, sis. You must be tired."


"Jake, what about the babies?" Karina asked me. I looked to Boris and Betina and they were both sound asleep. 


"Let's get you a nap with them, and I will watch outside," I told Karina. "Rambo, get the bicycle from outside and put it behind the house. We can't attract anymore attention."


"Yeah, I shouldn't have rode it here, but we needed to get hurrying," Rambo said. He walked outside to put the bicycle away.


I knelt to Karina and kissed her forehead. "Sleep tight for now. There is a lightbulb shortage and a cheddar and macaroni shortage too. So we have to figure out how to get us some supplies to stay alive for you to live here."


Karina nodded, and turned her body to sleep on the ground on her hands as pillows.


I sighed and closed my eyes for a moment. The stress got to me, and this wasn't even an online class.


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