2 – The Rise of Hisan
Somewhere outside of the Mall of America,
“Another successful mission, my child,” said Popov to a kneeling, fully nude Hisan.
The sick bastard had just carried out one of the most deadly attacks on American soil in recent history. If the entire earth’s population were welded together into one unintelligible mass that was vaguely Christian and had a healthy hatred of any ideological differences, atrocities like this would never happen. Fortunately, for Popov, fantasies like this only existed in the righteous mind of Duke Dasher, who was currently white knuckling his way across the country. Likely listening to the Left Behind series on cassette, narrated by Kirk Cameron, to torque himself up for a confrontation with whoever was committing these atrocities.
“Twelve more attacks should suffice,” continued Popov, feeding Hisan a bottle of Vodka like a caring mother feeding a baby.
Hisan’s lips greedily latched onto the bottle of vodka, sucking deeply on its cracking nipple. On top of being a terrorist, Hisan was, of course, also a full-blown alcoholic. Popov had raised him as most Russians were built, on grain alcohol, raw potatoes, and a healthy longing for a return to communist glory. The only thing more dangerous than an alcoholic terrorist was a sober terrorist, so in this case, Hisan was slightly less dangerous than a sober terrorist was. Still undoubtedly very dangerous and with the enhancements made by Popov, certainly a formidable enemy for Dasher. Popov had called Hisan back to the basement of a Chili’s Too an hour south of the Mall of America. They had to meet to discuss the final phases of their precious plan.
This shrouded meeting lasted for several hours. Varying blueprints were observed and a routine flogging of Hisan was done to remind him of his loyalty. Several other members of Popov’s communist recruits looked on disapprovingly, as the relationship had grown in perversion. They realized that Popov was someone who would never back down; he was willing to go through any lengths to achieve his goal of toppling the most powerful and honorable government ever constructed. The Obama years were but a minor blemish on an otherwise unscathed country history. The meeting concluded with several cities circled in red on a map. Popov opened a curtain behind them to reveal a room filled with a thousand soldiers standing in line and at attention. A banquet hall for the communist revolution, complete with obligatory Bloomin Onions and molten lava cakes.
“These men shall ride you to freedom…to the start new world Hisan…my horse,” said Popov with a tear in his eye.
Nearby guards looked at each other, puzzled by the phrasing. The next point of attack formed the backbone of American ideals and was referred to by many as the birthplace of democracy, Noah’s Ark waterpark in Wisconsin Dells.
Dasher rolled down the window on the 2010 H3 Hummer he borrowed from the supermarket parking lot. He needed something with a little more power than his Silverado. Saving the environment could wait. He certainly didn’t trust the concept of anything electric or foreign, so he drove onward in the hulking yellow Hummer. White knuckling the steering wheel, he had to make it to Minnesota. Dasher wondered what kind of a sick, ignorant fuck would carry out an attack on something as innocent as a shopping mall?
Moreover, the largest mall in the world at that, with a goddamn roller coaster inside of it. What did Yankee Candle have to do with international turmoil? Why was Build-A-Bear workshop the catalyst for some of the greatest atrocities committed on American soil?
Dasher lit a cigarette and put it out, a ritual he had picked up during his time with his Special Forces unit. A testament to the ultimate control he had over his body and mind – an authority that few men had, even inside his elite unit, and even fewer outside the borders of America. As Dasher approached the Minnesota skyline, something from his past vaguely haunted him.
An almost indeterminable feeling. Buried under blind consumption of fire and brimstone and relentless posturing, something stirred.
Seeking out feelings was something that did not interest Dasher. He considered the concept of therapy as much of a conspiracy as vaccinating your children. Anyone trying to get inside of your mind, even in an effort to heal, was not to be trusted. The bloated walrus taking notes on your innermost feelings was almost certainly a spy, paid to collect information on you for the Russians. Something created for snowflake Millennials whom he despised as much, if not more than the terrorists. Little bastards who spent their entire lives behind the comfort of a keyboard, fighting wars of no consequence. Why didn’t they believe in the same things he did? Making the country better, obsessively worshipping the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and eradicating terrorist threats. Considering the simplicity of it only increased the rage growing within Dasher. These sniveling little insects were too obsessed with avocado toast and Instagram “likes” to worry about surgically removing threats to their country and strong-arming others into Christianity. If the New Testament didn’t exist for Dasher, neither would Millennials, and this world would be a hell of a lot better off.
When Dasher was forced into military-mandated therapy after hundreds of incidents, which would suggest a full loss of sanity, he sat as stoic as ever. He would place his pistol on the mahogany table between him and the therapist and sit with his arms crossed in silence until the required time was up. After the awkward exchange had mercifully concluded, he would fire a round into the ceiling and walk out with a smirk on his face. This therapist would never crack him. As much as he begged and pleaded, Dasher wouldn’t concede an inch; he had been through far more hellacious interrogations than this. If the therapist wanted some information, he would have to ram bamboo shoots under his fingernails and toenails, and even then, it was unlikely he would give anything up. He would drive home happily to a wife and kid who had, unbeknownst to him, grown oppositely quite unhappy.
Dasher pulled into the mall parking lot, the caution tape still flapping in the wind. A sudden cold had settled in as the gnarled fingers of old man winter desperately fondled the throat of the Midwest. Dasher jumped out of his car and blew into his hands, trying to generate some warmth. Steam flew from his Styrofoam coffee cup. He saluted the police officers on the scene. Show respect for anyone wearing a uniform, thought Dasher as he somberly nodded at another officer at the scene. Dasher was well known by damn near everyone in any military, police, or government entity, as he routinely attended charity functions and saved asses whenever given the opportunity.
He approached the scene and took a closer look at the bodies; there was no way any human could have done this. Maybe at one time they were human, but not now. A monster did this. Even with his enormous hands, unreal stamina and lust for blood, Dasher could not have achieved this type of destruction and death. A fit of primal and misplaced jealousy ignited within Dasher. He had to admit, the scene was impressive.
He put a cigarette in his mouth and took it out, furiously throwing it to the ground. He put his blue tooth in his ear and rang his old pal Tom Watley.
“Watley, Dasher here…this is going to be fun,” he said, holding and kissing his signature silver cross necklace.
Noah’s Ark Waterpark
Hisan sat with his newly minted army in the damp basement of Noah’s Ark Waterpark. A group of men ready to give it all for communism and the fear of being horribly beaten if Popov got drunk enough. The basement reeked like the piss filling the pools above. Hisan hated what waterparks stood for: empty consumerism and massive plastic funneling devices, both pinnacles of western ideology. The mission from Popov had been to destroy the waterpark by any means necessary. To humiliate the lard asses mainlining cotton candy funnel cakes and absorbing foot-long corn dogs as suppositories. Destroying the country’s waterslide infrastructure was like taking away its veins and arteries, and thus, its heart.
Popov, whose goal was to ransack everything the country loved, had methodically selected the set of targets. If people did not feel safe bringing their kids to a loosely monitored waterpark with questionable safety regulations and semi-regular drownings, they would not feel safe anywhere. They had infiltrated the waterpark by buying tickets and entering the park as any reasonable person would. The security measures were limited to one person managing towel distribution as if it were the last day of their life. The entire army of fully-grown men had gone more or less unnoticed, as no one dared exceed the allotment of one towel per person. The only rule at a waterpark worth abiding by. The group of men had raised suspicion amongst several other pool attendees. The vestige of joy in their eyes, which was still minimal, seemed out of place in the confines of somewhere usually void of happiness. The suspicions were ultimately cast aside however, as each observer ultimately came to the conclusion that the group was simply already drunk enough to endure the waterpark as it was. Despite some protests from other members of the revolution, who would have preferred not to sit in the swampy taint of a waterpark, Hisan considered the underlying basement and tunnel system the perfect place to reflect on the mission. Before the end of the day, every one of those floundering carnival goldfish-in-a-bags would have his or her neck snapped. They were all indirectly responsible for what had happened all those years ago to Hisan’s beloved creatures. They would each experience what those horse-hybrids experienced that night. Pure and utter terror and more pain than humanly imaginable.
As parents dug themselves further and further into debt and kids chose the pool in favor of a trip to the bathroom, Hisan and his army of shadows waited for the perfect opportunity.
There was a crackle in Hisan’s earpiece.
“Hisan, what the hell are you doing? It is neck-snapping time!” Popov shouted through the Circuit City earpiece that had been permanently implanted in Hisan’s head after some objection.
Hisan took one final pull from the handle of vodka he had been drinking, stood up, and rallied the troops. Popov hadn’t been wrong yet, and Hisan trusted him in everything he did. Hisan’s scientist brain was still adapting to revenge and carnage, and Popov was the perfect manipulator.
Dasher was awakened in the middle of the night by the sound of his cell phone ringing. “Wanted Dead or Alive,” a song that he had spent several frustrating weekends trying to program as his ringtone, played loudly. He came to covet that sound, even in the middle of the night, when he knew it meant he was going to have to raise hell. Maybe it was those times he cherished more than anything. During the day, his phone ringing meant another soul-crushing errand dictated by Stacy or even worse, a conversation with his son. The night, however, was unpredictable and erratic. The ringing could mean virtually anything. There was nothing better than waking up to the gentle sound that is accompanied by the anticipation of violence in the name of God. On those nights, the moon seemed to glow even brighter.
“It’s Dasher, talk to me,” he barked into his Motorola Razr.
Dasher did not trust smartphones. He saw them as a sign of weakness and distraction. In Dasher’s mind, technology, in general, was something that removed us further from our ancestors. Distracting us from feeling, reprogramming our minds into a gonzo money shot aggregator. All of our thoughts and feelings suffocated and drowned in favor of the endless scroll. Oftentimes rolling the content spewing from our phone between our fattened fingers like a ball of snot before timidly sneaking it into our already brimming cheeks. A surprisingly emotionally intelligent observation from Dasher.
Dasher’s wife had once brought home a pair of smartphones as a surprise anniversary gift. The phone was loaded with all of Dasher’s favorite music. She even had speed dials programmed for their pastor and his parents. Upon seeing them, Dasher instantly threw the phones in the microwave and set the timer for 30 minutes. He stood and maniacally watched the spinning glass plate until the thirty minutes were up. He had to make sure both the phones and microwave were utterly destroyed. Stacy had sadly gone back to watching reruns of JAG, her act of kindness completely squandered.
“Dasher, it’s Watley. You better get ready for this,” said Watley.
Watley went on to describe the complete and utter carnage that had occurred at Noah’s Ark waterpark in the Wisconsin Dells. Dasher listened in horror as Watley kept making a bizarre clicking noise with his tongue when describing the neck snappings at the water park. Dasher’s fury grew with each nauseating click.
“Watley, what the hell is that clicking noise?” growled Dasher into the phone.
“Everyone’s necks were snapped Dasher, not a single bullet. Just someone snapping the necks of several hundred people and then rearranging the corpses into the Russian flag,” continued Watley, pushing through the awkward silence of Dasher’s heavy breathing.
He clicked his tongue several more times in a row. They were always one step behind. But how? The United States and by extension, Dasher, was never one step behind. Ever one step ahead – always pushing the boundaries of freedom and justice.
“Shut the fuck up, Watley, and let me think! Also, would you cool it with that clicking noise! I know damn well what a neck-snapping sounds like, and that little click you’re doing is doing it no justice at all. The sound of you slobbering all over yourself is making me sicker than the mass murder that just happened,” said Dasher, momentarily losing his composure.
“Sorry Watley. I know several hundred people being brutally murdered isn’t necessarily your fault, but anytime the United States gets one pulled over on it like this, we are all responsible. If we all believed in the one true God, had a healthy fear of all immigrants, an aggressively Republican President, and wiped the Obama years from all history books, this shit wouldn’t happen,” continued Dasher over the sound of his teeth grinding.
“Look, I completely agree Dasher. I think 99% of the world agrees with that, but it won’t change what happened. The only evidence we have is drone footage of what appears to be someone or something leading the attack; it’s …huge,” said Watley as he stared at the footage. “I’m forwarding it to the Roku in your hotel room now.”
Dasher wrestled with the remote for the better part of the afternoon. Outside of dutifully watching Joel Oscreen’s morning service from time to time, Dasher never turned on the television. The concept of remaining completely idle while being spoon-fed content displeased Dasher. Not to mention the clearly leftist bias which plagued virtually every program available, save Sunday Service with Joel Oscreen. Joel Oscreen was a celebrity pastor that had risen in fame for looking and sounding like another celebrity pastor. He looked like a very poorly made version of the other pastor, with even larger veneers that hung from his bleeding gums like loose dominos and uncommonly tanned skin that seemed to continually need adjusting to stay in place. Most of his program, So, You’re Going to Hell, Now what?, was spent frantically kneading and maneuvering his chapped skin, which seemed willing to melt from his slight frame at a moment’s notice. When he did speak, his voice sounded like the hissing of a nitrous tank, instilling fear and humiliation into whoever was willing to indulge in a huff. The public disregarded the peculiarity and accepted him without question. They were too focused on making donations to Oscreen’s church, which was said to be the easiest way to avoid damnation. Dasher liked a good bargain in life and a knockoff human suited him just fine. He found the constant skin adjustments to be a charming ode to the lepers he read about in the Bible. Oscreen also focused more on fire and brimstone, personal shame and condemnation than the other pastor did, so Dasher was a predictably staunch supporter.
If Dasher had it his way, Kids Say the Darndest Things would rot in hell with the entire CNN catalog of programming. Why would anyone watch TV when someone had written something as incredible as the Bible? Or recite the Pledge of Allegiance? Or be a faithful husband and a caring father? Finally, after several hours of praying and a little luck, Dasher managed to get the footage up on the television.
“It’s him,” muttered Dasher aloud, shattering the remote in his enormous hands.
Recalling a memory he thought he had vanquished from his mind long ago, he rubbed his temples and searched frantically through swarms of old homilies, paranoia involving the Obama family being lizard people and countless missions where he saved his entire team’s asses. Then it hit him.
Several years ago, he had taken an elite group of mercenaries deep into the heart of Baghdad, intending to destroy a facility that was allegedly capable of producing human-animal hybrids. What he saw was a bunch of sick cucks trying to play God and doing a piss-poor job at it, for there is only one true all-powerful, all-knowing Man, who created everything around us. Four mini horses with the faces of human beings sat lazily around a slop pen, feasting on what appeared to be human entrails. Dasher vomited instantly and moved stealthily closer. He noticed a lone scientist extracting blood and stool samples from the despicable looking beings. The scientist looked up and locked eyes with Dasher. Dasher sprinted at him, despite the fact that he was unarmed and had his hands in the air. The rest of the team stood and watched as Dasher picked up a full head of steam. He approached the scientist, drew his gun and hurled it as hard as he could at the scientist’s face. The glock was immediately absorbed by the soft face of the horse lover, shattering his nose into a thousand bone pieces, which fell to the floor, along with his teeth, like shards of glass.
“Hell of a catch scientist, you ever consider playing for the Yankees?” Dasher asked the man writhing around in a growing pool of his own blood.
He turned back and grinned at his troop, who were now translucently pale and looked on the verge of tears. Must not like baseball, thought Dasher. Their loss.
The scientist tried to explain to Dasher that the facility had been converted into a sanctuary for these creatures, but after several rounds of relentless waterboarding on his already mangled face and a few carefully curated lessons from the Bible, Dasher got him to admit otherwise.
“Tell me about these piece of shit horses, scumbag!” Dasher yelled as the horse abominations looked at the interrogation uninterestedly.
The scientist refused to crack until finally, Dasher was left with no choice. He grabbed one of the mini horses and firmly planted his standard issue Glock at the back of its mane. The horse looked up with no discernable emotion, merely grazing on the last of the slop in front of it. Dasher clicked the trigger on the gun, hoping to instill fear in the horse who still had no reaction.
“You tell me how these things are going to wreak havoc on the United States or this thing’s brains are going to become dinner for his friends. I don’t want to have to do this, but so help me God, I will,” Dasher said, regaining his composure.
The scientist had to think on his feet to convince this lunatic that these horses had experienced enough suffering in their lifetime. They hadn’t asked to be created the way they were – a living abomination to most.
“Ok! These were trained as reconnaissance horses that would eventually be trained to murder the President’s child at the annual White House county fair!” The scientist screamed, hoping the false admittance would be a plausible answer for the lunatic in front of him.
Dasher snickered and then stared pensively at the horses. Though they were horrific, they were still technically God’s creatures, as anything living on this earth is, excluding enemies of the United States and anyone he held a personal vendetta against. He was overcome with an immense feeling of sorrow for the creatures and decided they would live their best life if they were free – roaming the desert and prancing about at will. The scientist pleaded with Dasher as he opened the warehouse doors, saying that the horses were in no way prepared to live outside of the facility. They were gentle creatures with no understanding of hardship, completely uncorrupted by the world outside. Everyone else in the room seemed to understand that a single minute in the cruel desert would kill them immediately, but Dasher patted each one on the ass, an indication that it was time for them to jog to freedom.
One collapsed instantly into a sandpit, breaking all of its legs and unleashing a horrible, continuous cry, while wolves immediately slaughtered the others, as the scientist looked on completely dismayed. The wolves ripping and tearing at the faces of the hybrids who desperately wept for their master would haunt the desert wind for years to come.
“They would rather die standing than live on their knees,” Dasher said in a patriotic tone, irrelevant to the current situation.
When he turned around, ready to send the scientist straight to hell to live in pain and suffering with his creatures, the scientist had vanished. Distracted by the slaughter and the sound of a horrifying human hybrid horse screaming, Dasher had allowed the scientist to escape.
Now that same man was wreaking havoc on America. Although he had changed in every way, physically enormous and bloodthirsty, Dasher still recognized his face immediately. It was the face of a man who had loved his human-horse hybrids, maybe a little too much. It was a man consumed by hatred. Though Dasher recalled the prior confrontation, he in no way considered there to be a correlation between what had happened all those years ago and what was happening now. This sick bastard would have always done this; nothing Dasher did or did not do would have changed that. Each man was in charge of his own destiny, with help from God and the Holy Spirit of course. Now Dasher would have to do what he could not do all those years ago and finally kill the scientist.