Moral Panic by K.M. Ecke — Reader Disclaimer and Chapter One
This is not a safe space. If you are prone to believing in conspiracy theories, the publisher recommends you do not read this book. There is nothing in this book that is factual, and the characters are not designed to resemble any real people. Any similarities to any real people or companies are coincidental. They are not intended to defame or falsely represent anyone.
Any emotional distress caused by the reading of this book is the responsibility of the reader. If you are emotionally or mentally unstable, do not read this book. Please seek the necessary treatment from your local medical professionals.
There are several disturbing scenes in this book, which may be difficult to experience. This is not a book for children. Neither is it a book for childish minds. Do not allow children to read this book.
The intention of this book is to provoke thought. The creation of any group that attempts to achieve extra-judicial justice is not condoned by the publisher or the author, and is only the fictional opinion of fictional characters in a fictional representation of a fictional story.
The views expressed by the fictional characters herein do not express the views of the author, the publisher, or the distributor of this work.
What stories stand the test of time?
Morally expounded in foundations of the light of life, simply profound.
Of wisdom found in wellsprings deep, sheltered in this waking sleep
I search for naught which is not steeped in healing truth refined.
Let the darkness come. Defy fears unknown.
Where evil’s only weapon is its lack of light unshone.
When revealed weakness weeps, its strength of desperation seeps into the minds of those without another thought to keep.
Where is wisdom won? Codified in deeds undone? Sheltered in the shadows of a solitary sun?
It must be found in whisper’s wind.
A gift to open hearts.
Surviving souls of sin.
At the least let me be mine, let me walk this wintered path with spine.
As I collect the wisdom left behind from self-defeating breath exhaled from my lips inciting crimes against the self, a death by a thousand. incremental. steps.
Now alive I fight to keep though when I fall to solaced sleep let me die free.
Let me die me.
Tanner’s eyes were closed, his head buried in his pillow after hitting the snooze alarm for the third time, trying to recall the dream he was having. The temporal shapes floating through his mind faded away, but with the pained reality of the day ahead of him, he relaxed and drifted back into one of his few moments of daily bliss — which would elude him that day.
BAM. BAM. BAM. BAM.
A forceful knock on his apartment door pulled him from the last of his sleep. Tanner opened his eyes and sat up explosively. He waited for a moment to be sure he hadn’t dreamed the sound.
BAM. BAM. BAM.
The knock was harsh. He checked the time on his phone: 6:30 a.m.
Who the hell knocks like that this early?
He got up, grabbed a designer shirt from the pile of dirty clothes on the floor and shuffled toward the door.
His heartbeat accelerated as he walked through his apartment. Visitors normally used the intercom on the first floor. No one had dialed up to his room, and the force of the knock made it clear this was not a social visit.
The abrasive noise only exacerbated the dull headache of his hangover. Craft beer bottles still ornamented his coffee table from the night before. He glanced at the expensive electronics scattered around his living room. Visions of a robbery jolted him with adrenaline. He grabbed one of the beer bottles, gripping it by the neck, just in case.
Tanner looked through the peephole of his door. Two men stood behind a woman in the hall. They wore black baseball hats, their heads tilted down to cover their faces with the brims.
“Who is it?” Tanner asked.
The woman’s voice on the other side of the door was muffled, yet demanded authority.
“Tanner Moore, this is Justice Officer Carter with Social Justice. We need to speak with you.”
Slack-jawed. Frozen tongue. I didn’t do anything illegal, Tanner thought.
“Tanner.” The officer dropped any attempt to be nice, cutting off his thoughts midstream.
“What’s this about?” Tanner shuffled nervously a few feet away from the door, looking for a better weapon than the bottle in his hand.
“Please open the door.”
“How do I know you’re law enforcement?”
“We’re with Social Justice.”
Tanner shook his head in disbelief. “I’ve never heard of Social Justice!”
“Social Justice is a citizen protection program keeping people safe with efficiency, vigilance, and honor.” The response sounded like an automated recording.
Sounds like bullshit, Tanner thought. “I’ve never heard of you. Get out of my building, or I’ll call the cops!”
Officer Carter lost her calm. “We don’t have time for this. Four FBI agents are on the way over here. If you don’t open the door, we’re coming in to get you.”
FBI? That’s it, this must be fake.
Tanner conjured the toughest movie line he could think of. “If you try to come in here, I’ll get my gun and feed you your last meal!” A short electric buzz sounded outside the door as Tanner continued to stammer. “It’s within my rights to shoot intruders. I don’t give a damn what crazy group you’re from.”
Another muffled voice spoke up from outside. “Initiate breach.”
Two rapid hits of the mechanized breaching device and they were inside. The door splintered, and Tanner was on the ground before he could make it halfway to his office where he kept his gun.
Tackled. Nightstick to the head. Darkness.
- K.M. Ecke
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