Groundswell: chapter fourteen

“In 1978, a lot of wild shit went down in Groundswell. People just went crazy–riots, shootings, bludgeoning each other to death with anything that wasn’t bolted down… After all that, no one who was left wanted to stay and Prismaro was finally able to purchase the land. They drilled there for a good ten years or so before they went bankrupt and sold the land to another company.”

Was the company behind whatever happened, somehow?”

“I’m getting to that. See, Prismaro had a sweet contract with the federal government and it’s been speculated, by some, that they had…help. In clearing the town.”

You mean…”

“Yeah. That’s exactly what I mean. Some say a government agency deliberately introduced an experimental toxin into the town’s water supply in order to create civil unrest. Some even think the same thing happened in Greenwood. You know, the Tulsa race massacre?

“Yeah, I think I’ve read something about that.”

Anyway, I don’t think so, doesn’t check out. Story goes that this stuff was more potent than they expected. They didn’t want casualties, they just wanted to make people feel irritable and unhappy. The project was abandoned and the evidence hidden–buried around there someplace, I expect. People paid off to keep quiet. You know how it goes. Business as usual in the land of opportunity.”

“Casualties,” said Logan. “You say it so… casually.”

“Well what the hell do you want, the Ken Burns version? I’m really sticking my neck out trusting you with–“

“Alright, alright. I’m sorry. Please continue.”

“That’s about the gist of it. There were several witnesses stating that they saw teams of men in hazmat suits decontaminating Groundswell after everyone left.”

“Names?”

“I don’t remember. This shit’s all over the conspiracy sites and it’s more or less what I’m telling you now. Why the hell haven’t you already looked into all that shit?”

“I honestly don’t know.”

“Well why don’t you try that next time before you call me up and have me risk my job by giving you classified info?”

Logan sighed. He couldn’t decide whether he had a penchant for pissing women off or if he simply gravitated towards the ones predisposed to obstinance.

He’d always assumed it was their fault. But if it kept happening again and again and again…

“I’m sorry. Really, I am. And I miss you.”

“Oh, fuck you. And stick to bottled water.”

Call ended.

He’d wanted to tell her about the kid, about all of it, and how it seemed as if history was repeating itself, but he knew it would be selfish to do so. He couldn’t ask her to sit on something she’d probably be duty-bound to report to her superiors.

He had to get another gun, somehow. Preferably a .44, because he had no doubt that the cops had seen the one he’d been carrying. He would have.

It just wouldn’t be a .44 matching the one that fired the bullet they would eventually find in a tree somewhere.

If they questioned him and he didn’t have the gun, they’d ask him why he hadn’t reported it missing. They’d also have probable cause to detain him if they felt like being assholes, and he had a feeling they would. He’d just have to stay one step ahead of them.

Shouldn’t be too hard…

He tried not to think too much about why he was being forced to cover for himself, because he wasn’t entirely convinced of his lack of culpability.

Yeah, it was self-dense… but he was a kid. A child.

I’ve murdered a child.

“No,” he whispered. “Not your fault.”

Deep down, though, he wasn’t so sure.

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