Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Short Story: Blackout!

 As I have been doing all July-long I am trying to post a story every day. I might not always succeed in that, but I am doing very well, so far.

 

 Blackout



The blackout happened without any warning at all. Lights and sirens blared all over town and the Mayor was rushed into an underground Civil Emergency Center.

“Why are we here instead of the Office of Emergency Management building?” the Mayor demanded to know of the security forces and staff arrayed around him. Confusion reigned as the place was barely working, they were trying to start an old generator. The federal agencies didn't pay much attention to him.

Finally one member of his staff found the answer “The Robinson Building is a smoking pile of rubble, sir”

The Mayor was shocked. “Terrorism?”

“That is what the Homeland Security guys are claiming, but they can't get in touch with anyone either”

“What about those soldier? The military has its own communications...”

The aide shook his head “Satellites are down too. Nobody is talking to anyone!”

The Mayor closed his eyes and shook his head, he was going to get a migraine. He had to pull himself together. The city had been attacked, all communications outside the city had been cut off. Nobody even knew if Washington DC still existed, or any other city for that matter.

He decided that he needed to think of the city first. He was the Mayor, he was not responsible for other cities, this was his job.

“See if the police radios are working, I want to be able to get some idea of what is happening in my city, pronto!” he ordered an aide who took off. The Mayor watched some military guys open some hard-shell cases with laptops inside and they were connecting it to the mainframe.

The aide returned with a hand-held police radio.

“We cleared channel 5 for you” the aide told him.

“Forget the formalities and codes for a second, this is the Mayor. I want to know what is going on out there, what can you see?”

There was a lot of static and then several voices came over atop of one another. “Okay, I heard someone identify themselves as car 342. Please speak to me 342, what's your name”

“This is 342, My name is Lieutenant Curtis Walker. I'm patrolling the southern Mel-Point area, everything went black here at the same time. Besides that, I haven't seen anything besides people out on their porches and lawns and neighbors in groups. I see some people running a grill over there, like a block party”

The Mayor nodded. Mel-Point was a nice, upscale part of town, this was all expected.

“Okay, let's get a report from another car. Can 347 hear me?” he asked, working from a list one of his staff had handed to him on a clipboard.

“347 here” a voice said “I patrol the Harmon District. I see store-fronts broken out, people are looting everything they can see. There's a pharmacy on fire, I was trying to help the firefighters but we came under fire. It's a mess down here.”

“I hear you” The Mayor said “I'm not sure what we can do about it right now, as soon as I can get a handle on things I will have to put a stop to the looting”

Meanwhile his aids had been unfurling a large map of the city and tacking it to a wall, he was shining a flashlight on it. “I'm going to need a report from Center” he said in the radio “Any officers hearing me in Center?”

The Center District had been the hardest hit if the Robinson Building was rubble. The thought that there were no surviving squad cars or other first responders there was creepy.

“If you have seen anything unusual, tell me” The mayor called out into the radio “I don't mean riots or looting. If you know anything just say it”

Then he looked at the aide “Any word from the power station?”

The young man looked around and then took a deep breath “It seems to be gone too”

The whole power station was gone? The Mayor was having a hard time comprehending what had happened to his city, no what was happening. Present tense, this was hardly over. It had just begun.

Several police officers rushed into the building “We need everyone out of here, NOW!”

The Mayor was about to ask what was going on when the federal guys began to protest being told what to do. The officers pointed to the door “You got less than a minute before you are flattened like a pancake! The buildings are falling like dominoes and headed this way”.

Then there was a rushed panic to leave the building and get to the middle of the street. There he found it nearly pitch black but he could see the outline of buildings against the stars and an eerie green light in the distance. They were falling like dominoes, as if something gigantic were pushing them over one by one.

“Okay, we need to get away” One of the higher-ranked police officers said “Everyone! Listen to me, get to the suburbs. We can't do anything here, we need to get to safety...”

That is when the Civil Emergency Center went down as if something had stepped on it. There was a loud bang and a whoosh of air as if an invisible giant had stomped the building flat. Suddenly everyone within vision range was running for vehicles or just running on foot away from the site. No rhyme or reason, just sheer panic.

“Sir, we need to go! Get in the truck!” the office helper told him and they climbed into the back of a utility box truck, looking like a small moving truck. Someone was driving, every so often wheels would screech and once or twice he heard metal crumpling somewhere nearby.

A hour later he woke up. “Where are we?” he asked the office helper who handed him a half-empty bottle of water.

“I don't know” she said

“Where is Roger? Is Roger driving?” he asked, she nodded. “Where is the Chief if Police? Fire Marshall? Anyone?”

She simply shook her head and looked away. Then she turned off the pen light she had illuminated the space between with. The Mayor realized she had missing family and friends too, she couldn't contact a loved one any more than he could.

Finally the truck slowed and stopped. The back opened and Roger was standing there. “The truck died, I think its out of gas or something” he told them “We're going to have to walk”

They walked up the rural two-lane road until they found a house with people cooking on a bonfire. The family welcomed them and let them stay, they seemed friendly but the Mayor noticed that all four adults there were armed. The kids didn't go far from the picnic table next to the fire.

“Have you guys heard anything?” The Mayor asked “Because we didn't get any information at all and we've been out of contact for over an hour”

The two adult men looked at each other. Then one of them, the one with the Rams shirt, reached down, opened a cooler and pulled several water bottles from the ice and placed it in front of them.

“We heard there was a green light over the whole city now. We heard rumors of a giant knocking over buildings. There were reports from Bentwood that big beasts were attacking people house to house. Doesn't make much sense but that's what has been coming over the ham radio” he said.

“You have a ham radio? Has the President said anything about this?” The Mayor asked “The Army must be on the way.”

The men and the women looked nervous. “You really have been out of the loop” one of them said before sitting on the opposite side of the picnic table.

“There is no President or Army” he said, this man had a short beard and wore a John Deere cap “Sounds like the whole world has been hit”

The Mayor, tears in his eyes, shook his head “Was it the Iranians?”

The man took a deep breath and continued “I guess I didn't say it right. Sorry”

The other man, the Rams shirt broke in, standing closer to the bonfire. “This planet has been claimed by the Brin. The Brin Empire invaded Earth. I don't know who or what the Brin are, I've heard them described as walking tanks, big as bears, but it seems we already lost this war before it started”

The Mayor was shocked “That can't be true, it just can't be true” he said, he saw the girl with her face in her hands, Roger was holding up his glasses and wiping his eyes.

Then suddenly a bright green light came out of the trees and he could see a dozen silhouettes at least of bear-like shapes coming towards them.

He heard the men curse. “There's too many of them”

The women hugged the children and they cried.

“Umbracht!” one of the aliens shouted and a bright green laser went over their heads. The men finally threw down their rifles and pistols. All of them were soon standing there with their arms raised.

“I can't believe this. I was only mayor for a week” he said between sobs.

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