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Terry L Vinson

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· Gauntlet

· In Sheep's Clothing

· The Purgatory Inn

· Sidekicks Incorporated

· Recluses


· Bugstompers of The 21st Century

· SPECTRAL REWIND: The Class of ’81

· Creeping Dread

· Yellow Fever

Short Stories
· Bitter Ingredients, Bitter Pizza

· Jingle BONES

· WHAT Goes There?

· Reign of Goblins

· Passing the Torch

· Duped Net: The Interrogation

· The Shredder

· Duped-Net: Undercover Blues

· A Rock 'n Roll Apocalypse

· Resurrection Road

· Why I Write - An Author's Confession

· For What It's Worth: The 25 Best Horror Films of All Time

· For What It's Worth: The ten-best Sci-Fi television programs of all time

· For What it's Worth: The Top Ten Western Flicks of All-Time

· Exorcising Ghosts of the Green and Gold Variety

· For What It's Worth: The Ten Best Sci-Fi Films of All Time

· For What it's Worth: The Ten Best Horror/Suspense Novels of All Time

· For What It's Worth: The Ten Best 'Undead' Films of all time

· A Crimson (Tide) WAVE

· ROLL TIDE!: A legacy…

· The Light of Gensan

· Ode to The Hunger (Rant of the Living Dead)

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· The Gift of Reading (pick a genre, any genre)

· Presenting...a trio of nail-biting thrillers to choose from!

· Terry Vinson's Sci-Fi/Thriller 'GAUNTLET' now on sale!

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· Introducing Terry Lloyd Vinson's 'THE PURGATORY INN'

· Wings E-Press to publish thriller 'THE PURGATORY INN'

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Southern Extinction
By Terry L Vinson
Posted: Friday, June 25, 2004
Last edited: Monday, November 23, 2009
This short story is rated "PG" by the Author.

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Recent stories by Terry L Vinson
· Bitter Ingredients, Bitter Pizza
· Jingle BONES
· WHAT Goes There?
· Reign of Goblins
· Passing the Torch
· Duped Net: The Interrogation
· The Shredder
           >> View all 29
Death of a heritage...a short tale of cultural extinction taken from the 2007 novel 'THE DEAD EFFECT'
'Sweet Home Alabama,
Where the skies are blue,
Sweet Home Alabama,
Lord I'm comin' home to you'

- Lynyrd Skynyrd

Our Tale Commences:

“Settle down, class. We have one more series to get through before mid-day nutrition commences,” the instructor announced, kneeling down a bit to insert a palm-sized disk into a nearby wall unit. She heard the class groan in unison just as the virtual display hummed to life.

“Now, now…none of that. You cannot honestly tell me the series on the American Indian wasn’t utterly fascinating, as was the history of immigration in the early to late 20th Century.”

The majority of the twenty-six eighth graders before her nodded in mild agreement, although a few remained stubbornly defiant. There was little argument amongst the student body and faculty alike that ‘Virtual American History’ was one of the more popular middle grade classes, surpassing ‘The Basics of Pre-Teen Teleportation’, while admittedly running a close second to ‘Sexual Awakenings: Your Bodies Initial Signal to Initiate Hormone Control Treatments’.

“Yes, Simon-346?” the instructor asked somewhat wearily, eyeing the young man fronting the row nearest to her.

“Instructor Laura, how long before we cover the early 21st Century oil wars? My father told me that mass chemical warfare usage practically eliminated the Middle Eastern block, and that clouds of nerve gas killed thousands in the Midwestern US. He also sa...”

“Simon-346, we still have several personality biographies to cover before we delve into such matters,’ the instructor interrupted sternly, leaving the boy slightly red-faced, ‘I understand how subjects involving insane acts of uncontrolled violence and rage fascinate young men such as yourself, but you need to learn to control such…morbid curiosity, least an extra session of behavioral modification be in order.”

“Yes, m’am,” he whispered, lowering his head in shame.

“Now, everyone insert a blank disc into your memory pads, as there will be a quiz given at day’s end. Ensure you highlight as instructed by the visual aid, and please notify me immediately if you detect even the slightest pulse wave interference.”

Stepping to the rear of the spacious classroom, she aimed a tiny remote device towards a far wall just as the children’s cockpit- styled desk units whirled around in the direction of a circular glass stage.

The classroom lights dimmed and the flat stage lit up in synchronized unison, the children’s foreheads now pressed firmly against the virtual reality headsets protruding from the front edge of their respective desk tops.

“The title of the visual aid presentation is ‘19/20th/21st Century Man. Specific Region: Southeastern United States. A History of: Southern Heritage, culture, and tradition.’ Downloading visual aid host circa the year two-thousand fifty-one.”

The virtual setting appeared in segments, like an ancient puzzle whose pieces fell together in a fragmented frenzy of slow motion construction.

The visual host initially appeared as a middle aged Caucasian male, perhaps between the ages of 40-50, sporting short-cropped hair which was graying at the temples and a lengthy growth of facial hair that was streaked in patches of ivory. He wore a gray uniform shirt with large black buttons, and had a long-barreled rifle balanced atop his right shoulder. Standing at the center of a wide, grassy pasture, an animal (identified to the students as a ‘HORSE – Working Mammal- extinct 22nd century’ in a typed menu at the setting’s top right hand corner) stood causally grazing in the background. In the far distance, tendrils of black smoke arose from a wooden shack that was practically hidden between a row of massive elm and oak trees (again listed in the menu as such).

The man spat a dark liquid from between pursed lips (quickly identified as ‘TOBACCO PRODUCT – banned by government order in the year 2039’), then stared straight ahead wearing a dazed expression and initiated the presentation prologue.

“The year is 1864; the place…..the Southern United states. The Civil War ran from 1861 to 1865; a tragic time in US History wherein brother fought brother over such issues as states rights and slavery. Until the South American Border wars of 2029, the Civil War was responsible for more combat related deaths than any skirmish fought within the borders of the United States. It was during this span that the Southern region truly became a separate entity from their Northern and Western brethren, establishing a tangible state of mind that was equal parts physical and psychological. Despite an eventual surrender due to equipment and manpower shortages, the southern people held firm to certain beliefs that outsiders either viewed as stubborn and short-sided, or simply ignorant in nature. The Emancipation Proclamation (HIGHLIGHTED on student menu) abolished slavery once the war ended in Northern victory, but a vast majority of the southern region held firm to old beliefs, thus the issue of racial equality wasn’t initially accepted without decades of continued strife and conflict.”

The host gave a small nod even as the visuals around him gradually metamorphosized; the surrounding rural landscape replaced by a three story plantation fronted by a trio of 20th century automobiles (the student menu labeled each by make and model, the newest constructed in 1954). The surrounding forest and overgrown foliage melted away to be quickly replaced by ancient maple and elm trees, manicured lawns and perfectly coifed shrubbery. The host no longer donned the uniform of the Confederacy, but a slick white suit and black bow tie, his hair as neatly combed as his meticulously trimmed beard.

“A minority of the southern population thrived during the agricultural age; riches spawned from such diverse crops as corn, cotton and wheat, while a larger majority in such industrially poor states such as Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee lived in relative squalor. In the decades following World War II, businesses slowly began to migrate to the South, quick to take advantage of a population willing to work for less than their Northern counterparts. Farming was still the main economic source (HIGHLIGHTED), although industrial and production type jobs were beginning to make a dent.

It was during this time, as Northerners slowly began to make their way South for fresh job opportunities, that such terms as ‘Southern Pride’, ‘Southern Hospitality’, and ‘Southern Heritage’ first came into play. Even as third and fourth generation Southerners dominated the work force, they were soon intermingled with immigrants from Europe and South America, as well as a growing population of Black Americans of African descent. Thus, what was referred to as ‘social integration’ quickly grew into a trouble source within the region.

Again, the host’s head tilted just slightly as the scene altered to reveal a more urban background. The host sported a more casual look; his facial hair having vanished even as his thick, graying hair melted away to reveal lengthier, blondish locks tucked beneath a worn baseball cap (identified as ‘Fashion Head Accessory’ in menu). He wore baggy plaid pants, a white T-shirt and a pair of well-worn, heavy-duty work boots. The background visual was now dominated by small shops and street vendors selling various fruits and vegetables from wooden crates.

“As the sixth decade of the twentieth century came to pass, winds of change began to pick up intensity within the very Heart of Dixie (HIGHLIGHTED), a term meaning the very core of the Southland.

The equality movement was running rampant nationwide involving the female and black population, as well as the many immigrants from Eastern Europe, all in search of a fair shake within the world of politics and overall social acceptance. Southerners in particular had a difficult adjustment period regarding such issues, with state and local politicians…a-a-g-g-g-reeing to d-dis-a-gree on m-m-m-ma-t-t-t-t-t-ers..o—o-o-o-…’

His movements comically mechanical, the host eventually froze in mid-word, his mouth agape and his right hand stuck airborne as the background scene began to flicker and flash without a single moment’s coherence. Objects appeared and then vanished abruptly without ever truly taking permanent shape in a surreal kaleidoscope of unidentifiable colors. A new figure entered the screen just as all background movement halted, stepping into the frame as if magically transported from real-world time, like a man entering a TV screen from outside the set. Completely bald, his scalp and forehead were beet red and held just a tint of perspiration. He looked to be in his late thirties to early forties, stocky in build and wearing a bushy, walrus-type mustache that curled tightly at the pointed ends.

“Howdy, y’all. Pardon my abrupt and rather rude interruption, kids..,’ the man announced in a thick southern drawl utterly void of the stiff, robotic tone used by the previous host, ‘..but with my own eyelids growing increasingly heavy from this programs rather dry, mechanical delivery, I figured you, as a class, must be on the outer edge of passin’ out altogether.”

Wearing dark blue jeans, a white cotton T-shirt and brown work-boots ravaged with grooved scars near the circular toes, the man stood with his thick, muscular arms crossed across his barrel-shaped chest. As his monologue continued, the earlier host and accompanying scenery vanishing in a misty, static-filled light, to be gradually replaced by a dark black, late 20th Century model Ford Pick-up truck (as listed in menu) parked atop a gravel drive in front of a modest two-story brick home.

“Now that the programmed robot MC (‘master of ceremonies’, read a separate drop-down menu) has flown the coop, we can get down to some real history, minus most of the crap that just don’t matter, like specific dates and locations. It’s the personal aspect…the people and the changes they endured that needs to be covered, not these dry-ass factoids (defined as ‘slang/profanity’ in menu), pardon my French.”

The ever-changing, rapidly merging landscape behind the man eventually fell completely into place, the truck now flanked by a spacious, hilly field engulfed in perfectly spaced rows of corn that stretched as far and wide as the image could project. The man leaned against the trucks shiny chrome grill, gently tapping his forehead with a white rag he’d pulled from his jeans’ rear pocket.

“I’m sure you’ve covered the American Civil War with its causes and aftermaths ‘til your pretty much fed up with the particulars. Like I said, what I want you to focus on is the heritage and culture of the southern people….their way of life. First off, I guess formal intros are in order. Unlike old tight jaws before me, I ain’t no computer programmed image or CGI design, no siree (slang term: undefined). Instead, your peepers (slang term: defined as meaning ‘eyes’) are presently trained on a bon-I-fied 21st Century hologram designed to infiltrate computerized fields of study. In other words, boys and girls, an updated version of what used to be referred to in computer terms as a ‘virus’. My physical appearance and mannerisms are not of a single man, but a virtual montage of the three men who created me. They are memorialized as follows:

James Murray Hemstrout, white male, was born on March 9th, 1989 in Montgomery, Alabama. A computer analyst until his retirement in the year 2056, he passed away at the ripe old age of eight-eight in Tucson, Arizona.

William Jay Henriksen, white male, was born on January 19th, 1991 in Tupelo, Mississippi. He worked as a systems administrator for the US Navy for twenty years, then retired after ten additional years with NASA/Asian Branch. He passed away at the age of ninety-four in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Carl Lee Shots, black male, was born on May 10th, 1992 in Richmond, Virginia. Widely touted as one of the top ten ‘systems hackers’ of the 21st Century, his work in the field of ‘Virus Busting’ was instrumental in the cure of ‘The Black Plague’ of 2023, wherein the entire Eastern seaboard of the United States and portions of Canada experienced a computer ‘blackout’ that lasted twenty-seven days due to the so-called ‘Black Plague’ worm. Carl worked the last seventeen years of his life in the Pentagon’s Top Secret Underground Programming Division, where he established virus-detection and elimination hardware that is still in use eleven decades later. He died at his home in Wheeling, West Virginia at the age of ninety.

These three complex individuals saw fit to use me as their personal history teacher; creating me in their own image, a digital spokesman engraved inside this program in order to provide a fitting epitaph for the heritage they loved, admired and, sad to say, watched dissipate into just another footnote within a society that had become cold, mechanical, and woefully bland. A society that frowned on regional individualism until it was phased out altogether; replaced by what my creators would call ‘personality cloning’. To put it in simple southern terms, what they’re doin’ today just plain ain’t right.”

The man paused to stare into the bright, clear sky overhead while reaching to retrieve a small, multi-colored box from the roll of his left shirt sleeve. Pulling a narrow white tube from the box, he placed it gently between his lips while tugging at his left jeans pocket.

He casually released a tiny flame from one end of a small, circular, blue colored object (Defined as: Lighter. Outlawed nationwide in 2038 by The COMBUSTIBLE MATERIALS Ordinance) and inhaled deeply as thin tendrils of smoke departed the narrow tube’s (Defined as: Cigarette. TOBACCO PRODUCT: banned nationwide in 2039) burnt end.

Leaning over with one elbow propped casually against the truck’s shiny hood, he exhaled smoke from both nostrils.

“My creators were fiercely proud of their southern heritage, even as they departed the Southland for distant territories, the Northern states and Southern California to be exact, to begin plying their trade in the booming IT markets of the early 21st Century. In many cases, they were greeted with initial skepticism from colleagues who doubted their abilities and even their intelligence once the twang of their southern accents became apparent. It was almost always an uphill battle for my creators to earn the respect they so richly deserved once their place of birth was made an issue. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t anywhere near the same type treatment as a Jackie Robinson (SPORTS REFERENCE: ‘First African-American Major League Baseball Player) or Catherine Jamison (POLITICAL REFERENCE: First female President of the United States), but there were those who simply would not easily accept a southerner within the higher ranks of the IT community due to their lineage.”

Tossing what little remained of the burnt tube onto the dirt road surface, he stamped it forcefully with his left boot, then walked slowly away from the truck up the gravelly path.

“Growing up in the South of the late 20th and early 21st Centuries, the creators were already residing in a rapidly changin’ landscape within the region itself. The technological advances of earlier decades, most notably nineteen ninety to two-thousand-ten, had pretty much evened the playin’ field nationwide. Cable TV and the Internet changed the way the world listened, learned, and lived.

So, it was mostly the stories told by their elders that instilled the sense of southern pride that became a permanent part of who they were as men. Codes to live by, so to speak, no matter where you laid your head outside the Mason/Dixon line.

Southerners, especially those raised in smaller townships, were taught to be courteous and kind, especially to strangers.

They got to know their neighbors and the people in their community, and to come to their aid without hesitation if the need arose. You invited people to supper, ‘dinner’ was for snobs, never once considerin’ a possible shortage of food in the cupboard afterwards.

Sunday mornings at church were as mandatory as school attendance the following day.

Priorities were simple; cut and dry. God; family; country, PERIOD. Breach of said order was unthinkable, and in some communities, not tolerated.

They were taught to revel in the simple pleasures that country living had to offer. Harvestin’ the rewards from gardens grown from countless hours of sweat was a privilege, not a chore.

As CHILDREN, their elders grew up with black and white TV, and sometimes had but two local channels to view. During the summer, they cultivated a garden large enough to keep them well-stocked with fresh vegetables through the following Fall and Winter.

Summer fun for the younger set was had without video or virtual reality games, cable television, live ‘interactive’ programming, palm digital readers, or the Internet.

They played baseball, football and basketball, sure, but also kick-the-can, kick-ball, and dodge-ball in July heat that would have literally melted their Northern counterparts.

They caught fireflies and placed them in jars as ‘homemade’ flashlights.

They fished with bamboo poles and wire hooks.

They skipped rocks from creek banks.

They rode their bikes for hours on end, whether the trail be asphalt, gravel or dirt.

They didn’t get their sports news from cable networks, sports-tickers, or ‘wrist-flash’ cams, but from battery-operated transistor radios hung from bike handlebars or hanging from their belts. Same with the music they listened to.

Along the same lines, the third most popular religious sect within the region, following hot on the trail of the Baptists and Methodists, was definitely the Southern FOOTBALL fan.

They ‘borrowed’ watermelons from neighboring farms.

They ‘camped out’ in each other’s yards in makeshift tents.

On Halloween, they soaped cars windows and filled trees with toilet tissue, all the while roaming the countryside like carefree gnomes, unafraid of adult ‘predators’ that had yet to become the norm.

At Christmas, they didn’t purchase their trees from ‘tree lots’ or Wal-Mart, but cut one down from their own property. The decorating of the tree was a family affair, and treated with great reverence.

They built clubhouses and forts from materials found on their parent’s land.
And, true enough, the majority of the summer months were spent barefoot.

Southern ADULT MALES were ingrained with a work ethic that normally included dawn risings and sunset quitting times.

They were caring but stern fathers who didn’t hesitate to use a belt or wooden ‘switch’ to get their point across to unruly offspring. Wasn’t any ’time-outs’ in those days, I’m afraid. The fear they instilled in their children wasn’t done out of cruelty, but love. It helped teach the young to respect those older and more knowledgeable, something direly lacking as the 20th Century closed and youth crime rates soared.

During the early 20th Century, the majority of southern men knew only two things; hard work and family. Feeding, clothing and providing a stable home was their role, and most passed away early with callused hands and weathered skin.

The southern FEMALE couldn’t be so easily defined, depending on her standing in the community. Homemakers all until their gradual infusion into the workforce during the 1960’s, many performed double-duty as both homemaker and farm laborer. Raising the children was sometimes the sole responsibility of the mother, along with the cooking, cleaning, and shopping tasks. If raised among the wealthy, the female assumed the role of ‘Dixie Debutante’ at a very tender age. From there, she was expected to marry rich to maintain a status of elite standing within the community.

As a whole, to be raised in the Southland during the early to mid-twentieth Century meant living a hard but relatively simple life dominated by family issues. These were basically good-hearted, hard-working, but undeniably stubborn people who took pride in their work and were fiercely protective of what was theirs.
The bloodlines were rich even if the family wasn’t, and steeped in a tradition built on sweat, tears, and old-fashioned values.”

The man wiped his brow and sighed, frowning deeply.

“That said, to ignore the blatant racism that transpired in those times would be an unforgivable omission. African-Americans were, for the most part, still being treated as third-class citizens a full century after the Civil War had given them their freedom. I’m not gonna emphasize the particulars; you’ve all been tested on ‘em since pre-grade school in the ‘Equal but Separate: A Question of Color’ forums. Let’s call it what it was; cruel, heartless, ignorant, and utterly regrettable.

Caucasian Southerners of the 21st Century spent a good portion of their lives apologizing for the horrid mistakes of their elders.

Many attempted to make sincere amends, while a tiny minority made it their simple-minded mission to carry on the campaign of hatred and bigotry, organizing so-called ‘hate groups’ to further persecute those they deemed ‘unworthy’ due to race, color, or ethnic background. By the year 2015, such groups had either disbanded voluntarily or been forced from the public eye by law enforcement. Fortunately, such erratic, deviant behavior isn’t allowed in today’s government regulated society.

As the 21st Century closed, several factors had teamed to all but eliminate the southern culture as a whole. The constant flow of immigration through the century, as well as technological advances in agriculture were the main culprits. Even the distinct, trademark accent that had always separated southerners from their Northern and Western counterparts dissipated like mist in the morning sun as decades passed and generations passed on.”

As the man faced forward, the cornfield behind him began to melt away, replaced by a frenzied montage of fragmented film clips, beaming forth like hundreds of ancient TV screens on display in an antique department store window, and all showing separate programs.

“To sum up, kids, the south and its people gave a lot to the country in terms of culture. Much more than most historical scholars will ever give them credit for, I’m afraid.’

One screen displayed an outdoor sports arena filled to overflowing (NOTE: such activities banned in 2079 due to UV Ray contamination once Ozone Layer collapsed) as the sun shone bright on the football (NOTE: Banned sport as of 2065) players frequenting the field below.

“.....such as the great sports traditions....”

Another showcased a group of musicians, most of which wore large Cowboy (NOTE: circa 19th century farm-hand, gun-fighter, etc.) hats, standing on a stage in front of a large seated audience. The crowd seemed to be singing along as the band performed, with clapping hands and stamping feet.

“ music (NOTE: banned in 2055, along with all music labeled ‘popular’, as it was defined by Government regulation as a NEGATIVE YOUTH INFLUENCE) had its rich roots here...”

Still another flashed scene after majestic scene of wheat, cotton and barley fields, spread out over countless acres both hilly and flat. Surrounding screens were filled with farmhouses of all sizes and designs, most of which were backed by a large barn or similar structure.

“....while the southern farmer was instrumental in feeding the nation as a whole...”

The majority of the screens were dominated simply by faces; quick-hit profiles of smiling children and stern-faced adults of all colors and races; of aged grandfathers and grandmothers whose grave, unsmiling expressions were easily dismissed as clever disguises by the kindness behind their brightly lit eyes.

“...and gave us a people whose dedication to family and country was unmatched in their time. Though the media and Entertainment industry of the late 20th and early 21st Century historically labeled or simply wrote off southerners as either uneducated hicks or ignorant buffoons, it was the visitors from other parts of the land who saw them for what they truly were. A proud people. A kind people. Folks who would literally give you ‘the shirt off their backs’, if need be.

My creators endured the snide remarks concerning their heritage; the allegations that they too ‘must be racist’ if born and raised in a region where such ideals flourished in the distant past. They adapted and overcame, all the while keeping a stiff upper lip, and never bothering to give those who ridiculed or accused the satisfaction of seeing them angered. They too, were proud, you see. Proud to be Americans first. Proud to be Southern Americans second. To them, the definition of the word ‘Redneck’ was far removed from the modern-day comedians take of ‘ignorant southerner’, but instead simply meant ‘hard working folk whose neck shone red from the sun’. When someone referred to one of the creators as such, he would nod his head amiably, thanking them for the compliment.”

The man folded his arms across his chest and winked playfully as the background again began to alter, slowly melding back into its original text from whence he first appeared. A guitar-driver musical tune grew louder as this happened, and the man began to tap his feet to the rhythm even as his very form began to break away and vanish in miniscule chunks of static.

“....remember the heritage, children, and the culture. You are all extensions of what came before you, despite this governments attempt to mechanize your lives...your very...personalities. The human race was a colossal tree with roots that stretched the length and width of the country itself. You are are are are are brown. You are all these things in one. Your cells are rich in cultural diversity. And somewhere amongst those millions and millions of cells, you are also.... the Grace of God.

The form bowed slightly before vanishing in a spattering of streaky blue flame. The virtual scene had returned to the space he had entered, the original host still frozen in mid-word, his right arm propped airborne.

Moments later, the classroom lights came up as the children’s cockpit chairs whirled about as one, shifting around and down until they were back in their original position. The instructor shut down the virtual display with a single click, then moved swiftly to the podium as the students removed their headsets, their movements clumsily executed; their eyes weary and dazed, as if having just awakened from a deep slumber.

“The contaminated file you have just viewed should be ignored, thus instantly forgotten, class. Do you understand?” she barked angrily, her face beet red.

“Yes, Instructor Laura”, the class droned as one.

“I must apologize for not being able to shut it down before it’s completion, but these aged viruses are known to carry a hypnotic agent of some type, and will now allow for conscious interruption. Needless to say, I will immediately have these disks removed and sent to Principal Instructor Prine for immediate destruction,” she said loudly, tapping her fingers against the podium in obvious frustration.

“You are dismissed for nutrition intake until your next forum at one-twenty. Remember, class....information gathered from a purposely infected program is not to be taken literally. While some of the content may indeed be fact, the majority, I’m afraid, is merely speculation....or simply a minority’s opinion.”

“Yes, instructor Laura,” they repeated, filing out a row at a time. The twenty-six students exited the class for the dome-covered walkway, forming a three file formation.

As the march ensued in utter silence, Simon-346 fought to wipe the tight smile forming on this purple-shaded lips.

The lyrics refused to fade from his mind, mainly due to only a half-hearted effort to push them away. After a moment, he gave up the fight and allowed the song to play freely. After another moment, he decided it wasn’t such a bad thing after all. In fact, it was quite pleasurable. He hoped it stayed with him at least for the rest of he day.

And the song went:

....I wish I were in Dixie, Away, Away...
....In Dixieland I’ll make my stand.... live and die in Dixie.....
...Away...Away...Away down south in Dixie...”

By the time the class regrouped for their next forum, similar tunes whose origins remained a mystery were filling their collective minds. Tunes rich with instrumental harmonies long-since banned. Violins sang; banjos hummed, and guitars strummed. All the while, more than a few feet tapped happily in unison.

Over the next several days, many of the students who were exposed to what became known as the ‘Southern Extinction’ virus were also reprimanded for the blatant misuse of such non-words as ‘Y’all’ and ‘Ain’t’.

One particular ‘malcontent’ was even expelled when a digital sketch drawing was discovered tucked inside one of his history excel-files. The drawing displayed a flag of sorts, with crossed bars in the shape of an X.

Drawn within the bars were stars.
Beneath the rough sketch was typed a single word:



Web Site: Graven Imagery  

Reader Reviews for "Southern Extinction "

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Reviewed by James Cotton 2/22/2008
WOW!!! Having lived in the south, I'm aware of the pride these people have of their culture, as imperfect as it is. I've gone back through those states relatively recently, and found that it is changing don't even hear that familiar southern drawl along the streets of Atlanta anymore. Along with the fact that the Government is spending a lot of time trying to 'protect' us from ourselves, and the education system is deciding what 'history' our children will learn...this story takes place in the 22nd century, but we're unfortunately well on our way right now to this kind of scenario! Very impressive!
Reviewed by Doug Boren 9/23/2006
Terry and Stephen King have more than just being good horror writers in common. Their non horror stuff is as good, if not BETTER! Extrememly interesting! As a Southern born and bred guy, I have often thought of a way to display or explain my heritage. I couldn't have done any better job than this. Thanks, Terry, for beautifully painting a tapestry of our souls in a heart grabbing, mind blowing way. If those of a non Southern background can more fully understand us, then you have accomplished far more than just entertaining us. I tip my hat to Terry, and am proud to be his "Southern Kindred".
Reviewed by Jeremy Allen (Reader) 11/5/2004
Excellent writing, Terry! What a brilliant tapestry of important issues of the 20th and 21st century (as best we see them at the moment.) I hope you will let us all know when you publish a collection of short stories similar to this; especially as I am not an avid horror reader.
You know, with a little work, I think this story would be a worthy submission to one of the New York magazine houses. Good job.
Reviewed by Tyrone Banks 10/25/2004
Very enjoyable piece of Fiction. Suitable satire on our educational system and society's willingness to push misunderstood people/things/events into the background to paint a selfish and sometimes ethnocentric picture. There are so many "contaminated files" that we must not forget. There's so much more out there if we look.
Reviewed by Hanley Harding 7/19/2004
Dear Terry;

Sorry I'm late, guy! But I finally got here... and enjoyed the hell outta this. I think it could be "trimmed down" a bit, but is, overall, an excellent story!

Reviewed by jeff crutchfield (Reader) 7/8/2004
Great job Terry!! You truly captured the South I grew up in!! Keep 'em coming!!!
Reviewed by m j hollingshead 7/2/2004
Californian by birth, Southern by the grace of God
Reviewed by Lynn Barry 6/28/2004
thought provoking...I must admit to being guilty of stereotyping being a northerner...and extremely liberal and open minded...did I say that???, your brilliance is a beacon in a dark world...thank you for sharing...I would love to buy a signed one of your books...let me know if this is possible...any one will do...your work is exceptional...
Reviewed by Carol Chapman (Reader) 6/27/2004
" the Grace of God.” I found myself *hearing* the music and tapping my feet as well. The history of the South fading into a melting pot future but still surviving within a computer is a concept that any who know the South would agree with wholeheartedly. If all the world ate potatoes, rice and grits would still be served in the South with pride.

The best Science Fiction takes a fact and carries it forward to the next step - your story goes up a staircase with the reader agreeing with each step then standing on the top and admiring the view with open mouthed wonder. Very well done, I am hooked on your writing.

Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 6/26/2004

::mouth hangin opin:: WOW--this is AWESOME--stunning foray into another genre--reminds me of asimov or authur c. clark--WOW WOW WOW

excellent! this one has GOT to be published--VERY impressed!

(((HUGS))) and love, karla. :)
Reviewed by Sheldon Higdon (Reader) 6/26/2004
As usual, you impress me. Not only a well written piece, but a history into our own culture as Americans, particulary the South. If you ever want to work on something together -- just email.
Sheldon S. Higdon
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 6/26/2004
Good story, Terry; thanks for sharing!

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Tx., Karen Lynn. :D
Reviewed by Nickolaus Pacione 6/26/2004
Shows you have strenghs in more than one genre; I knew how you were as a horror writer but now as a Sci-Fi writer I get a little jealous though this is a good one from you. Highly recommended if one reads Asimov or Bradbury. This is one that shows your influence of Ray Bradbury.

Books by
Terry L Vinson

In Sheep's Clothing

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The Purgatory Inn

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Bugstompers of The 21st Century

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SPECTRAL REWIND: The Class of ’81

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The Dead Effect

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Science Fiction Stories
1. The Sludge (Part 11)
2. It's in the Cards
3. Rich Man, Poor Soul
4. Doing Bristol
5. Can One Eat Dark Matter?
6. The Sludge (Part 8)
7. Honor killing -NOT DONE
8. Part 3: Poison Earth
9. The Table Drawer
10. Living On Mars: Our Story. (Part One)
11. Growing Young
12. Lost Identity
13. The Specimen. (Part Eight)
14. Alien Breath.
15. The Sludge (Part 3)
16. The Music Portal
17. An Amber Storm From Hell
18. Destiny
19. The Last Terran
20. Revenge of the Gulf

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