Chloe Ozwell (Sister Shotgun) – Hero (Skillet Cover)

Chloe Ozwell (Sister Shotgun) – Hero (Skillet Cover)

Rick Here

I think we have mentioned a few times in recent weeks that we are living in strange times. Covid-19 has affected, just about, everyone on the planet, in one way or another, and we are far from seeing what the outcome of everything will be.

Regardless of how we are all feeling, there are a massive amount of people around the globe, who are, shamelessly and bravely, helping the rest of us to try and live as normal a life as possible. Emergency service personnel and carers, who are helping the sick, vulnerable and elderly, and providing other vital services. Shops and stores who are staying open, and delivering supplies to the general public. Cleaners, members of the armed forces, postal workers, and industries who have re-purposed their businesses to make vital equipment, and many, many more. They are all Heroes!

Sister Shotgun vocalist Chloe Ozwell decided to record a version of ‘Hero’ by Skillet and asked some of these heroes to send her pictures of themselves so she could make a video to thank them and here is a link to that video!

All that remains to be said is huge love and respect to Chloe for doing this and THANK YOU to all of these wonderful HEROES for doing what they do.

COVID-19 by ‘Dark Juan’

‘Dark Juan’

Rick Here.

We’ve all been having a chat at Ever Metal and some of the reviewers have decided to come up with some extra pieces on top of the reviews. Whether that be videos or, in this case, a short, fictional, story from ‘Dark Juan’ about what might happen in the circumstances we are currently experiencing! Read on and let us know what you think.

Before the cataclysm it all started with a virus and with a rush on toilet paper. Not even a particularly lethal virus. Just one that couldn’t be vaccinated against. News outlets with particular political leanings engaged in a culture of scaremongering in order to justify their own existences. Truth got lost under a welter of lies, obfuscation, tailoring the truth to other people’s requirements and demonising the less fortunate among us. Social media was even worse. A million voices all screaming conflicted and inaccurate information against each other onto screens all over the world. A silent, neverending howl of fact, counter-fact, lies and invention all spewing forth in real time and not giving the recipient time to assimilate it before other new theories or clickbait cures guaranteeing to make sure you’d never be touched by Coronaviruses or telling credulous men that their sexual potency could be cured and their penis grown in size and girth by this one magic pill.

One person said, way back in the past, “Society is only three meals away from revolution.”

They were wrong. Society degrades over decades of lies and poor governance. It degrades over governments slandering their opposition and arguing semantics and fiddling statistics to suit the way they think instead of being the agents of change and prosperity they said they’d be in manifesto pledges. Society becomes corrupt through the lies of the powerful and the cowed masses swallowing it verbatim. People got told what to think and repeated it parrot-fashion and the new truth took the place of the old. They didn’t even see their rights being removed even as they were. Goods started disappearing from shelves. The good people of communities across the world tried to help the less fortunate but there became a fulcrum – a tipping point where the good people had to look after themselves and their families first. And that is where the internal conflicts began.

Take Great Britain, long regarded as a bastion of the rule of law, politeness and good manners, turned in on itself. It became insane. People physically fighting in supermarket aisles over the last packet of pasta over a couple of weeks of shortages caused by the selfish and the unthinking who sat, temporarily secure in their homes with supplies to last a few weeks, never even considering that they had caused suffering and hardship to other less affluent or credit-worthy people. Then they would rampage back out into the melee and yelp pitifully that there was no pasta to be had, even though they had 20 packets in a cupboard at home. And then, one day, there was a quicksilver flash of metal and someone had died over some fucking toilet paper in Tesco’s Swindon branch. A knife between the ribs and all hell was set loose.

Panic reached ever greater heights. People armed themselves to obtain supplies. Police resources were quickly overwhelmed and the military was brought in to maintain order but they couldn’t cope either as the violence got worse. Delivery vehicles were waylaid and ransacked on the roads of the country and their drivers beaten or killed if they resisted and as the death rate from the virus increased, so did the death rate from the violence. A commensurate decrease was in the ability of healthcare providers to cope. Hospitals overflowed and people stole from them in order to obtain supplies they couldn’t get elsewhere. The good, kind and gentle people of the country faced a grim choice – do they maintain their ethics or do they plunge into the seething pit of survival and self? The forces of law and order pulled back to protect Government and the great and the good and left us all to fight like rats over dwindling resources. Useless platitudes and promises flowed from well fed men in suits that cost more than three months wages for an ordinary man in gilded palaces and then emergency law was declared. People were forced back into their homes at gunpoint and movement and freedom curtailed in the name of restoring order in a state tearing at itself from the inside out. Funds dried up as jobs were lost and taxes weren’t paid and people got increasingly desperate. Thievery and armed robbery became commonplace and fuel for vehicles became increasingly scarce as prices rocketed once the oil producing states had succumbed to the virus. Vehicles lay abandoned at crumbling roadsides and people grew yet more desperate.

The cities fell first. The people of the cities, in their competition for resources, ranged further and further afield to obtain the necessaries of life. Social media began to be a way of notifying each other where resources were, leading to hordes coming and stripping that resource dry. And the cycle would begin again. Rural towns began to suffer as communities who had practiced restraint and good neighbourliness and enjoyed adequate supplies were descended on by the ravening city dwellers and they too were stripped of their resources. Small towns and villages became small fortresses and bulwarks against people from outside and refusal to let outsiders in was often met with force. Death and serious injury became commonplace and then the communication network began to break down. When electricity supplies began to falter and then fail, and cellular and telephone communication was lost, an eerie kind of calm descended. There was an almost return to normalcy as people couldn’t report where delivery trucks were to be ransacked any more in real time. It all settled back down, but then the virus bit back HARD. Medical facilities once more overwhelmed and panic descended all over again. People dying in the streets over food, or malnutrition or lack of medication led to the complete collapse of the country into a seething, bloody mess of humanity ripping at each other.

The rest of the world was no better off. As resources dwindled, militaries began to face off and postures became warlike. Language started to cease using platitudes and preaching peace with neighbours and instead the ominous sound of sabres rattling began. Alliances broke and human suffering became the norm. The weak were trampled underfoot and nations began to tear at nations. Warfare became the new diplomacy and dictators rose and postured and preened and caused atrocities beyond words. Simmering tensions erupted into open warfare and the merry go round of the art of war spun ever faster, superpowers threatened and jockeyed for dominance and India and Pakistan threatened nuclear confrontation over the meltwaters of the Himalayas…

Among it all there were still optimists. After a muffled thump was heard at 0623 just outside of Dagenham, George turned to his wife in Dorking, and said to her,

“Look at the sunrise, love. It’s really bright today. It’s going to be a lovely day.”

Disclaimer: This short story is solely the property of Dark Juan. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.