Old Jack

I

Old Jack was a war veteran who lived in a town called Little River Heights. Once a decorated soldier and war hero, he lived his later years as the town drunk. Store owners in the town used to give Old Jack a few meaningless jobs, mostly dirty work that nobody else would do; an embarrassment to the man, but those jobs did provide enough money so that he could maintain his drinking habits.

Nobody knows why his life changed so rapidly, but many say that he once had a wife and kids and was a very intelligent person. Some claim that depression and PTSD were factors in his behaviour change, some think that maybe he just went crazy.

Children in the town all loved the old man, as he sang songs as he staggered throughout the town streets. The kids used to tease him and call him names, but he never got angry, he just went on his way, talking to himself and drinking from a paper bag covered wine bottle.

And then things changed. Everything changed on that faithful day. Old Jack changed too.  He threw out the bottles that he depended on  so dearly and moved to a small shack on the outskirts of town. It was in this shack  that Old Jack showed his true colors.

The changes started being noticed when things began happening in the small town. Little things at first like bush fires small  explosions in abandoned yards. The fires got bigger, and so did the explosions. One one occasion, Midtown Groceteria, whose store manager depended on Jack to empty their trash and clean their sewage tanks,  went up in flames one faithful night. Along with the building, eight night shift workers lost  their lives as well. Nobody knew where to start looking,  as the town was a relatively quiet place until all this happened. Nobody thought that Jack could be involved. They were wrong,

All those treacherous years of battle did something to Old Jack. He was not the same person when he returned from the war. In battle, he was a munitions expert. He killed hundreds of people, some innocent, some not. All this killing did something to Jack. Something snapped. For years, the alcohol helped calm the urges, but suddenly, Jack realized that even the booze wasn’t enough. In  Jack’s mind, the world was out to get him, and he wasn’t going down without a fight!

The grocery store was the first in many such incidents. In fact, every place that Jack worked in the last twenty five years met the same fate, as did the employees who were working at the time. Federal agents were called to the little town  in hopes that they could catch the culprit. Town volunteers and the fire department offered to help wherever they could. A now sober Jack was on hand to help out as well. His plan was simple, act like a good, neighourly volunteer, while at the same time, carry out his plan.

II

When all the commotion ended for the evening, Jack went home. When he got to his house, he realized that someone was  there while he was gone.  The door appeared to have been jimmied open. When inside, Jack took  a long look around. He noticed it right away. The light bulb in his kitchen ceiling had been replaced. It looked different than the one he had installed before he left.  That only meant one  thing! The government had replaced his light bulb with a camera so that they could spy on him. Jack  was aware that the world  was out to get him, but he never realized just how low  they would sink. With that, he smashed the bulb  with the handle of the broom.  He smashed all the other  bulbs as well, just in case there were more  cameras.

When the place was in total blackness, Jack lay on  his bed, calculating his next move against the evil  that lived in the small town  where  he made his home. While  laying in the blackness of  his bedroom, the silence deafened poor Jack, who suffered  from Tinnitus. The bells never go away, and that is why Jack always leaves his transistor radio  on  next to him  in the bed. He  reached  over to turn the radio  on, and then  came to a harsh discovery.

“If they mounted cameras  in my light bulbs, those rascals may just have replaced my radio with a recorder. They may be  listening to me right now”. With that, Jack grabbed the radio and threw it against the wall, smashing it to bits.

“Tomorrow I am going  to blow up  the radio  station and the tower  that stands behind it. That way I might be able to relax a bit. Damn Government, why can’t they leave me  alone?

III

Police are on the lookout for a missing woman. Sarina Jackson, home care worker and mother of two, went missing in early July. She had been assigned to the home of Jack Samuelson, a Gulf War veteran and long time resident of Little River Heights. Since Jack has been getting up in his years, and the fact that he has been dealing with mental issues all his life, the Veterans Association chose Sarina for the task of helping Jack ‘deal’  with his problems.

Sarina showed up  at Jack’s door on  July 5, one day after the biggest veteran celebration in the country. Jack was drunk when she knocked at his door. Sarina was surprised to find  that Jack was unusually calm and very easy to talk to. Jack asked her in, got her a cup of tea and the two of them got acquainted. Being a live in caretaker, Sarina took several precautions to ensure her safety, especially on the first night. She found her job here very enjoyable, often wondering exactly why she was assigned to working with Jack. Although he drank lots, he seemed relatively easy to work with, almost enjoyable. This all changed once Jack threw away the bottle.

The pain came sudden, and her death was quick. With a thrust from his cleaver, Sarina’s head rolled on the floor, and onto the red carpet behind the stove. Jack ran over and collected her head, setting it on  the table top  like a valued prize. “Those rascals, sending a spy over to watch me. She has the same ‘look’ as the others! I seen it right away! That head, doesn’t  even look human, more like a head of a goat or a sheep.” Jack mused, as he dug a deep hole in the yard behind his home and buried the body (minus the head) of Sarina Jackson.

That was back in early September. By now, Sarina’s head is nothing but a rotting piece of flesh, but it still sits there on the table. The smell from the head is nearly unbearable, but it doesn’t bother Jack, who thinks that strange ‘goat-like’ aliens have taken over the town. Fortunately for Jack, he doesn’t get many visitors. None really. Nobody wants to take a chance on visiting the town’s biggest nutcase, even if he served in two wars for them.

IV

The Sheriff never even considered the report; he didn’t know anyone in town by the name of Jack  Samuelson. The only person remotely resembling the description was ‘Ole Jack’. but everyone knew that Jack was such a nice man that he could never do something so heinous as what was described in the police report.

Tonight, Jack was alone in town. Since stores closed at six, the town  was all  but abandoned by ten. As Jack walked through the narrow streets, he was on  the lookout for the ‘goat heads’ that have all but replaced mankind here in Little River Heights.  God only knows what other towns have been hit by the aliens. Jack  knew that it was his duty to rid the world of those evil creatures.

Jack knew where the goat heads gathered. He knew that they waited for the sun to go down  so that nobody would see them, nobody would know that they were different. He knew that the liked the shadows. The shadows concealed their faces enough that they appeared ‘normal’ to most, but not to Jack.  He knew.

The night club at the end of town  was the only building in town that was still open. Jack could hear ‘their music’, the loud speakers banging to the devil’s own music. Strobe lights flashed brightly, and when the lights hit their faces, the goat heads ducked away. Jack seen this and it gave him an idea. Since the aliens hate bright light, Jack would give them a strong dose of the thing that they hate most. The old soldier laughed loudly as he headed home to prepare his plan. It would be an ‘EXPLOSIVE’  night for the goat heads, one that would make them  think before taking over any other towns.

V

“I thought they couldn’t tell the difference!”

“You promised this one would be easy, but it isn’t!”

“Four dead in less than  a week, and now we hear about Sarina. When will it end?”

“Why can’t we just kill him. Who would  miss the town bum?”

“We can’t kill him, he may be a nutcase, but somehow, the remaining members of the town look up to the old guy. Something about fighting for his country despite losing his wife and kids. Those townspeople are an honorable crowd. The ones we haven’t taken will suspect if Jack  were to disappear. We have to use some other way.”

The town meeting went fairly quick, the outcome was to do nothing yet. The leaders knew that if their plan was going to work, they would have to be more tactful than they were in the past. One of the organizers of the meeting said that he heard something out back, and with that, everyone in the room stood still and said nothing. The roar from the speakers drowned out any noise anyway.

“If he thinks that we are partying here, he won’t suspect anything, at least not now.”

While the beings in the nightclub tried there best to be quiet, Jack wasn’t. He wanted them to come outside. At least until he could set his trap. Jack stood near the doorway and crashed garbage can covers together like cymbals. The noise he made was loud, but not loud enough to overcome the pounding music from the speakers. With that, Jack  grew impatient and leaned on the horn of an old truck that was parked out back.

The honking  of the horns was overheard by the crowd inside the building. A few who were too curious to remain inside decided to go and investigate. When they opened the door, Jack’s plan went into action. He had rigged an explosive to the handle of the back door to the club. On  the end of the fuse, Jack  attached several boxes of firecrackers, enough to light up the night sky. The  whistles and howls from  the firecrackers drew the remaining beings from the building, and while they watched the light show, Jack  sneaked inside and set his charges. When he finished, he took  cover behind an old barn. The fireworks illuminated the entire  area, and eventually, other town members arrived to watch as well. It was then that they seen it. They noticed that all the people who were inside the night club were different. In the bright coloured lights, their heads appeared to resemble goats. Women and children screamed when they noticed that the people they knew as neighbours and friends were in fact aliens, or something even more terrifying.

When the aliens noticed that others now knew their secret, they gathered inside the building where they pretended to party. When Jack seen that they were all inside the building, he set the detonator and BOOM!

Goatheaded Aliens, all one hundred and forty of them flew to pieces. The building lit up like a Christmas tree, flames surrounding all who were inside. In moments, there was nothing left to the building but rubble.

Within the smoke and falling walls, a large blue light appeared. The image of a saucer like vehicle rose from  beneath the building and rose in height. When the vehicle hovered over two hundred feet from the ground, the inhabitants from the town screamed at the aliens to leave and never come back. Jack screamed as well.

“Goat Heads! Go Home!” He said, as the ship lifted even higher, and then took off for the night sky.

The town of Little River Heights never seen the Goat Faces again.The mayor gave Old Jack a key to the town, and Jack was a hero to everyone who lived there. Jack even made the front page of the Gazette, the town’s newspaper.

BETCHA YOU NEVER SEEN THIS ONE COMING, DID YOU. DON’T BE QUICK TO JUDGE GUYS LIKE OLE’ JACK, THEY MAY APPEAR TO BE DRUNK AND MAYBE DISORDERLY FROM TIME TO TIME, BUT THEY KNOW GOAT HEADED ALIENS WHEN THEY SEE THEM.

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